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Contract signed at Papagni Fruit Co.


January 2013: January 1st marked the beginning of our first contract for the more than 100 wine grape workers at Papagni Fruit Co. in Madera, CA. The contract runs for two years with an option for a third.

Worker Luis Hernandez is happy with the contract’s many benefits. “Now my rights will be respected and all laws will be enforced within the company thanks to our contract with the union. My seniority will be respected and I’m also happy because we have a wage increase per year. Now we will have a union representative in the fields to see for ourselves and if we have some questions we will also participate in meetings with the union. Thanks to the union for supporting farm workers and hope that this contract gets better year after year.” That about sums it up.

J & L Farms Contract Renegotiation

December 2012: Workers at J & L Farms in San Lucas, California have been under UFW contract since 1982. The more than 100 wine grape workers started off the year right with a renegotiated contract that took effect January 1st and extends until the end of 2015.

This contract includes the union’s medical and pension plans, with dental and vision. Worker Rosendo Mendez said he is happy with the contract because, “This contract provides me with job security for the 3 years of our contract, also we get a wage increase each year and the company will keep paying the costs for medical insurance for me and my whole family.”

Renegotiated Mushroom Farms Contract


November 2012: We just singed a renegotiated contract at a Watsonville company called Mushroom Farms, which is a division of Spawn Mate. The more than 100 workers there have enjoyed contract protections for ten years and now they will have another five.Workers will get a 7.5% increase in hourly wages across the life of the contract with an increase in piece rates as well. There are special increases for the skilled positions of fork-lift drivers and compost operators. Workers will continue to receive full medical and pension benefits, plus eight paid holidays. The company is making it easier for workers to use their vacation days. Another good benefit is $7.00 for a meal when workers are required to work overtime.

San Joaquin Tomato Growers


Oct 2012: We’re pleased to announce a new contract at San Joaquin Tomato Growers (SJTG), the company we appealed to you about in March. SJTG is based out of Crows Landing, CA and employs hundreds of workers.

Wages are the highlight of the contract. They include a raise in the piece rates for pickers, greater production bonuses for punchers and dumpers and increased hourly pay. Pickers will also use a standard 5 gallon bucket, which can now be filled to level, rather than having to pile on extra pounds of tomatoes that did not count toward their total.

Committee member Nancy Ortiz reports that problems such as not being paid overtime and having to buy gloves from the supervisor have been resolved. Another benefit: “The company management has more respect toward us. They talk to us in an educated manner.” That’s because these are smart workers who know that with the union, we live better.

Dole Berry Contrct Renegotiated


August 2012: We congratulate the more than 1,500 workers at both Dole Berry locations on their renegotiated two-year contract. Highlights include:

• Wage increases of 2 to 7 percent
• Continued coverage under the RFK Farm Workers Medical Plan
• Reduction of the time that disciplinary penalties last, from 12 months to
9 months
• Switching off which workers have to apply the plastic to the new rows. This is heavy work, as the plastic comes in 100 pound rolls and has to be applied to
the ground with no bubbles.

Daniel Navarrete, a worker at Dole Berry South helped negotiate this contract. He is pleased to be getting better wages and “other things that are going to benefit me in my job such as the rotation behind the harvest machine, also the rotation when applying plastic. For this reason I feel happy and we continue enjoying our contract. Si se puede.”

Contract Signed at Pacific Triple E Ltd


June 2012: We just signed a contract to represent the close to 1,000 workers at Stockton’s Pacific Triple E Ltd. It includes wage increases of 12 to 57.4 percent over the life of the agreement, making Pacific Triple E the best paid tomato workers in America. It will help raise pay and benefits for workers in the tomato industry far and wide. Other highlights include a grievance procedure, seniority and job security.

Manuel Andrade, a member of the negotiating committee, adds: “This contract will protect our rights… More than anything, I want other farm workers to know that the solution to the discrimination that exists is that they unite... I want to thank the United Farm Workers for all they have done, and I also want to thank Pacific Triple E for paying attention to our needs and to what we were asking for.”

Arysta LifeScience pulls cancer-causing methyl iodide off the U.S. market


April 2012: We are proud to share a huge victory with you. We’ve just gotten word that Arysta LifeScience has pulled cancer-causing methyl iodide off the U.S. market. The pesticide was intended for use in the strawberry fields as a replacement for methyl bromide, which the UFW helped get banned. This announcement means the end of the use in the U.S., of what scientists have called “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth.”

Thanks to consumers like yourself, through public pressure and supporting litigation when federal and state agencies failed to protect the public, strawberry workers win and we all win. The UFW will stay vigilant to ensure Arysta does not bring the toxin back. Si se puede!

Airdrome Orchards Workers celebrate 35 years under UFW contract


February 2012: On Saturday February 4th, more than 2 dozen year-round workers at Airdrome Orchards in Visalia, California celebrated 35 years under UFW contract. The first contract at Airdrome was negotiated and signed by UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta in 1977.Before the shift started, workers celebrated in this orange orchard with a brunch of carne asada, tortillas and salsa. The workers had a really good time and next year plan to celebrate in the park with their families.“I have 31 years working in this company. I am very content because in the years I worked for other companies, I never received benefits like medical insurance, respect for seniority or a pension plan,” worker George Gomez said.

St. Supery Vineyard Contract


January 2012: Workers at Napa Valley’s St. Supery Vineyard have enjoyed the protection of a UFW contract since 1985. The company recently agreed to another 3-year contract, seasonally covering close to 100 workers.

The new contract has higher wage floors and annual wage increases totaling 7% over the life of the contract. Nighttime workers (such as tractor drivers, sprayers, frost protectors and harvest machine operators) receive an extra $2.00 an hour. The contract covers an increase in health care premiums, required to maintain the same level of employee coverage.

One benefit will begin very soon: Workers can take off Cesar Chavez Day and also Easter weekend, starting on Good Friday. That’s a good contract, we believe the best in the industry.

CK Mondavi Renegotiated Contract


December 2011: The UFW signed a 4-year renegotiated contract agreement with the Napa Valley wine grape company, Charles Krug Mondavi. CK Mondavi has agreed to a minimum wage of $11.69/hr for established employees, with salary increases at 2% the first year 2% the second year, 2.5% in the third year and 2% in the fourth year, an 8.5% of total increases for the duration of the contract.

The company agreed to fund an increase in health care premiums needed to keep the same level of employee coverage. The company also let the workers exchange one of their 7 paid holidays for Cesar Chavez Day.

Four Year Contract Signed at Charles Krug Mondavi

The UFW signed a contract agreement with the wine grape Company, Charles Krug Mondavi that will uphold the following agreements among others: the Company is committed to providing the Union with information on contractor employees three (3) times a year. In terms of the Medical Plan, the Company will pay $ 2.10 for each hour worked per worker and an additional 6% pay increases for health plan and maintain the same level of benefits for employees, negotiated to change the Thanksgiving holiday for the Cesar Chavez Day, totaling 7 days paid holidays under the contract. CK Mondavi has agreed to a 4-year contract, the minimum wage is $ 11.69 with salary increases at 2% the first year 2% the second year, 2.5% in the third year and 2% in the fourth year, an 8.5% of total increases for the duration of the contract. New employees, entry level up to a year of service the salary will be $ 10.23 per hour.  

Sun World Contract Extension


November 2011: There’s a town on I-10 at the CA-AZ border in the empty desert between Palm Springs, Needles, Phoenix and Yuma. Blythe is so remote that it’s 2 hours southwest of nothing - Nothing, AZ, that is.

When you get to Blythe, it will be hot and you’ll want lemonade. For 60 UFW lemon workers, it will be even sweeter. They won a new and improved 3-year contract with Sun World International featuring increased pension benefits and bonuses. They secured the continued affordability of their union medical, dental and vision benefits and will continue to enjoy 7 paid holidays annually.

CP Meilland Workers Renegotiate Contract


October 2011: Itty bitty prickly roses sorted, counted and shipped. The 125 workers at CP Meilland in the California towns of Cutler and Sultana have more than nature’s beauty to appreciate today. They just ratified their renegotiated contract, which is now valid through the summer of 2014.

The contract includes an immediate wage increase as well as a raise every year of the contract. There is better pay as job skills increase from general labor, to graders, to counters, to forklift drivers and order fulfillment. The order fulfillment folks chill out in cold storage with the roses.

Workers will receive a bonus to help them through the winter layoffs. Perhaps most importantly, production workers get a $3 daily bonus when the line averages 800 plants a day or more.

Pesticide Complaint Victory


September 2011: According to a CA Department of Pesticide Regulation investigation, one July Saturday, just after midnight, an Arvin carrot ranch had a soil fumigant applied. The carrot grower didn’t properly post its field with warning signs. Grape workers from South Valley Ag Services showed up at dawn to work in the adjacent field owned by Jassar Farms. Jassar was told they would be fumigating but sent the workers in anyway. South Valley Ag did not post a hazard notice or provide training. Five workers smelled a foul odor and 2 reported symptoms, including Margarita Hernandez. Margarita says she complained to her supervisor without success and was still sick on Monday but was not offered medical treatment. We filed a complaint with the state on the workers’ behalf and found Margarita a workers’ comp attorney. According to state officials, the state will be issuing fines to the carrot grower and South Valley Ag.

¡Si Se Puede!

Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Legislation


August 2011: On Labor Day weekend, we concluded a 13-day, 200 mile march at the California state capitol. The march was for Fair Treatment legislation, which Gov. Jerry Brown had already vetoed once this session. Midway through the march, Gov. Brown put forth his own proposal of how to solve the problem of growers intimidating, stalling and firing workers who are lawfully organizing for union representation. We’re looking forward to enacting and using his new law.

When Cesar Chavez led the union’s first historic pilgrimage to Sacramento in 1966, he called the march, “A powerful weapon, a powerful organizing tool … There is this anticipation. You have a definite starting place … and goal. You’re moving, making progress every step.” We’re now one giant step closer to progress. Si Se Puede!

New Contract at California Mushrooms

The UFW has signed a contract extension for the 400 workers at California Mushroom Farm, in Ventura. The company has agreed to cover the 3% increase in the cost of providing health insurance for the workers and their families. The workers can now choose to have their annual bonus sent to the union’s Juan de la Cruz Pension Plan. The Plan provides the workers a guaranteed 6.5% return, rather than investment income that may be lost during a market crash. Workers have also gained 3 paid holidays and now have 10 paid holidays per year.

California Mushroom Farm contract extension


June 2011: Good fortune is mushrooming in Ventura where the 400 workers at California Mushroom Farm have won a contract extension.

The company has agreed to cover the 3% increase in the cost of providing health insurance for the workers and their families. The workers can now choose to have their annual bonus sent to the union’s Juan de la Cruz Pension Plan. The Plan provides the workers a guaranteed 6.5% return, rather than investment income that may be lost during a market crash. Workers have also gained 3 paid holidays and now have 10 paid holidays per year.

Gallo of Sonoma contract renegotiated


March 2011: Gallo of Sonoma’s 370 wine grape workers scored a major victory when they renegotiated their UFW contract with one of America’s largest wineries. The new three-year contract covering workers at Gallo’s Sonoma County operation boosts hourly pay and piece rates. Gallo workers employed by labor contractors will each receive a $600 bonus, $400 at the end of the season and $200 when they return the next year. Piece-rate workers will be guaranteed $10.02 an hour. The hourly rate for pruning will be guaranteed at $10.35. Workers required to pick grapes when it rains will get an addition $5 per ton. The new agreement was signed March 29.

UFW’s “Forty Acres” complex dedicated as a National Historic Landmark,


February 2011: On Monday, Feb. 21, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined other Farm Worker Movement and political leaders in Delano, CA. They gathered to dedicate the UFW’s “Forty Acres” complex as a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow on a place.

Giants had and still do, walk these 40 acres: names like Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Walter Reuther, Robert Kennedy and Cardinal Roger Mahony. It’s where Cesar Chavez held his first and last long public fasts in 1968 and ‘88.

We honor the legacy of Cesar and our movement ancestors every day when farm workers come to the Forty Acres for organizing meetings and to get help with their grievances and health and pension benefits.

Baird-Neece contract extension


January 2011: The orange pickers at Baird-Neece in central California are happy to have negotiated a one-year extension of their union contract. The last time they renegotiated their contract three years ago, they won a large wage increase. Most people don’t know it but not all orange picking is the same. This time the committee won raises for some of the specialty picking like when all the oranges have to be a certain size or when there is a plentiful crop and the workers are picking oranges for your breakfast juice.

The other improvement is that the company will let the union know when workers are out on disability, so we can continue their member benefits.

Beef North West Contract Signed

We are pleased to announce that we have signed a new three-year union contract with Beef Northwest Feeders. The company operates cattle feedlots in Oregon and Washington. Workers are now eligible for the UFW’s medical and pension coverage. They will receive paid vacations, six paid holidays and funeral leave. All the basic workplace rights are written into the contract, such as breaks and meal times, restrooms, drinking water and heat stress mitigation. Workers will not be required to work when there is a danger of injury to either themselves or the animals. Animal protection advocates will be glad to know there are beefed up guarantees of animal safety.

Muranaka Farms Vegetable workers have a new contract
November 2008: A contract was signed with Moorepark, CA’s Muranaka Farms.  These vegetable workers are excited to have improved their pension plan, negotiated additional vacation time and earned a wage increase. The contract includes language that requires the company to renegotiate wages if minimum wage goes up and protects the workers by including non-discrimination language.
Huntington Farm Workers have a new contract
November 2008: A new three-year contract was signed with Huntington Farms. Tractor drivers and irrigators at this company will now enjoy a better medical and dental plan—with no deductions. Their pension plan benefits have also improved and workers will receive a 7-8% increase in pay over the life of the contract.
3-year contract signed at Countryside Mushrooms
November 2008: Workers at Gilroy’s Countryside Mushrooms will enjoy wage increases and better medical coverage. Their medical coverage will be brought under the union's Robert F. Kennedy Farm Workers Medical Plan. The workers' monthly payments will be reduced from $200 to nothing and they’ll be provided with medical, dental and vision dental coverage. The workers will now be covered under the JDLC Pension Plan and receive an 8.6% increase in wages though the life of the contract. Other benefits include the workers’ board receiving paid time to hold weekly meetings and give an orientation regarding the contract to new employees.