After waiting 23 years, dozens of Stockton-area tomato workers go to Sacramento demanding the state seek a court order requiring grower to implement a UFW contract
1:30 p.m. Tuesday across from state Capitol After waiting 23 years, dozens of Stockton-area tomato workers go to Sacramento demanding the state seek a court order requiring grower to implement a UFW contract
Sacramento, CA — Dozens of workers from Manteca-based Ace Tomato Inc. travel Wednesday to the Sacramento headquarters of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board asking the agency to obtain a court order requiring the tomato grower to implement a contract with the United Farm Workers of America. The ALRB last month ordered the employer to put in place the agreement hammered out by a neutral mediator with the participation of the company and the union. The company refuses to do so in violation of state law and after decades of delaying tactics since its workers voted for the UFW in a state-conducted election for union representation.
Leonardo Gonzalez is an Ace Tomato worker appealing to the ALRB on Wednesday. He was among the majority of 300 tomato workers who voted on Aug. 10, 1989, to have the UFW represent them. Twenty-three years later he is still waiting to enjoy the benefits of the union contract for which he voted.
Ace Tomato failed to bargain in good faith for many years. Under a 2002 law allowing farm workers to bring in neutral mediators to work out union contracts when growers won’t negotiate, the mediator’s report, which becomes the legal contract, was submitted to the farm labor board in Sacramento. Ace Tomato objected to the mediator's report, but in July the ALRB rejected the objections and ordered the company to implement the final report from the mediator as the agreement. Ace Tomato still refused to implement it.
The company's blatant refusal to obey the law and the ALRB's apparent inability to enforce it is why the tomato workers are going to Sacramento, says UFW Vice President Armando Elenes.
Who: Dozens of workers from Manteca-based Ace Tomato Inc. What: Calling on the state farm labor board to seek a court order requiring the employer to implement a union contract as required by state law. When: 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 (continuing during the afternoon). Where: Agricultural Labor Relations Board, 915 Capitol Mall, Sacramento 95814