The Cesar Chavez-founded United Farm Workers will ask North American wine consumers to join a new international boycott of the Gallo winery. A 12 noon rally Tuesday at San Francisco City Hall attended by hundreds of vineyard workers and supporters will kick-off the UFW's first major nationwide boycott in more than 20 years.
“The Gallos abuse, cheat and deny the majority of their workers benefits, job protections and humane living conditions in the heart of California's fabled wine country,” he notes. “The Gallos deny responsibility for what is being done to farm workers on their behalf, on their land, to produce their product and to help make their money. Through this boycott people of goodwill can say, ‘No Gallo!'”
When Gallo's Sonoma County workers voted overwhelmingly for the UFW in a 1994 state-conducted election, all were full-time workers with benefits. Today, however, 75% of the work force is composed of temporary employees with no benefits. Gallo was found guilty of illegally attempting to decertify, or get rid of, the UFW by a state administrative judge and unanimously by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board in 2004.
In 1973, Chavez declared the first Gallo boycott after the Modesto-based jug wine producer refused to renegotiate its UFW contract. E&J Gallo Winery has wineries in Fresno, Livingston, Modesto and Sonoma County, Calif., and vineyards across the region. Its wine is sold throughout the U.S. and in more than 85 countries. The company, the leading U.S. wine exporter, is one of the world's biggest wine makers and the largest in the U.S. by cases sold. For more visit www.gallounfair.com or www.ufw.org.
Statement from Arturo S. Rodriguez, President
United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO
Inviting people to join the new Gallo wine boycott
June 14, 2005—San Francisco, Calif.
Today the United Farm Workers invites people of good will to join our second boycott of Gallo wine in 32 years.
Together we will convince America's wealthiest wine making family to stop exploiting and mistreating all of its vineyard workers in Sonoma County.
When Gallo farm workers in Sonoma County voted overwhelmingly for the UFW in 1994, all of them were full-time workers with benefits. Today, 75 percent of them are temporary employees with no benefits whatsoever.
All of the Gallos' Sonoma County farm workers endure chronically low pay. Yet the Gallos are offering a zero wage increase.
The Gallos deny the overwhelming majority of their workers health coverage, paid holidays and vacations, job security and grievance rights.
The Gallos abuse, cheat and deny these workers benefits, job protections and humane living conditions in the heart of California's fabled wine country.
We invite you to see the April 14 news story aired by the Bay Area's Fox television affiliate, Channel 2, and articles in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
It exposed squalid living conditions suffered by 29 workers who labor in the Gallos' Sonoma County vineyards. Twenty-nine men were jammed into a small three-bedroom, one-bath house in Windsor. These conditions even shocked veteran state and federal authorities conducting the raid the Channel 2 crew witnessed.
The Gallos say they have no responsibility for the miserable conditions endured by their workers.
The Gallos say they have no responsibility for the refusal to provide any benefits or job protections for 75 percent their Sonoma County work force.
Like so many big institutions in society today, the Gallos deny responsibility for what is being done to farm workers on their behalf, on their land, to produce their product and to help make their money.
The Gallos may not have a union contract. But they have a social contract—with all the workers whose labor produces their wine and with the public whose patronage sustains their profits.
Through this new boycott, people of goodwill everywhere can have a say. They can say, “No Gallo!”
Cesar Chavez liked to say boycotts are better than elections because the polls never close and you can vote more than once.
We will let people “vote” in some new ways.
When we kicked off our boycotts during the 1960s and ‘70s, including the first boycott of Gallo wine in 1973, we sent farm workers on the road to cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Today a viral campaign begins against Gallo. We are launching into cyberspace the news stories on living conditions and the invitation for people of good will to join our boycott.
We will distribute them to the expanding United Farm Workers list serve, which now reaches tens of thousands of committed farm worker activists nationwide.
We are taking our appeal to allied and sympathetic organizations such as Union Voice and Working Assets, to name a few. These and other key list serves will target minority, women's rights and environmental groups with millions of good people—plus every Democratic officeholder and like-minded organization.
We will send the news stories and our boycott invitation to all of these people, asking that they spread them to their friends, colleagues and loved ones wherever they live across America and in the other 85 countries where Gallo wines are sold.
These people will become our advertisers. They will do for us what millions of dollars in TV commercials do for the Gallos.
In addition, we will use all of these contacts to distribute our posters, bumper stickers and buttons.
There will be traditional boycott activities and events as well. We will solicit and obtain endorsements and support from a long list of individuals and groups encompassing people from every walk of life.
We will rely upon the Internet, other avenues and forums and the reputation the union of Cesar Chavez has built over four decades to reach throughout California and into thousands of distant places.
We will ask millions of people of good will to respond to an appeal for them to act constructively by convincing the Gallos to do the responsible thing.
And in the end, we will succeed.
Chronology of the farm workers'
latest battle with Gallo of Sonoma
1973—When the UFW's contract with Modest-based E&J Gallo Vineyards expired, Gallo selected the Teamsters Union to represents its workers. That sparked a bitter strike and boycott of Gallo wines. A 1975 nationwide Louis Harris poll showed millions of Americans were boycotting Gallo wines in support of the UFW.
July 1994—Wine-grape workers at Gallo of Sonoma voted overwhelmingly for the UFW in a state-supervised secret-ballot election. Then, none of the work force consisted of employees of farm labor contractors.
1995-2000—After the election was certified in July 1995, the UFW spent five years trying to hammer out a contract with Gallo. The key sticking point was Gallo's refusal to extend most contract benefits—such as health coverage—to farm labor contractor employees.
2000—Gallo still adamantly refused to sign a contract with the UFW unless labor contractor employees were excluded from most benefits. Faced with a contract offering some protections rather than nothing, the workers finally agreed, hoping to win benefits in the next agreement.
Gallo workers hired directly by the company won complete family medical, dental and vision benefits, eight paid holidays a year and paid vacations. But because of Gallo, workers employed through labor contractors didn't get benefits outside wages and protections under the seniority system and grievance and arbitration procedure.
February-March 2003—Gallo increased farm labor contractor employees to about 80% of the work force, up from about 60% in 1994. Gallo began an illegal company-orchestrated bid to get rid of the UFW. The UFW filed unfair labor practice charges with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, including:
• Company foremen and supervisors assembling workers and directing them to sign decertification petitions.
• Top company officials, including Matt Gallo, promising better pay and other benefits to workers in exchange for ousting the UFW.
• Widespread fraud in the collection of signatures, with Gallo officials asking workers to sign petitions but not telling them they were to get rid of the union.
March 13, 2003—In the days before the March 13 decertification vote, Gallo told labor contractor employees it was the UFW's fault they didn't have health and other benefits—even though the company refused to provide such benefits during five years of negotiations. The state impounded ballots from the decertification election because “of the seriousness of the allegations” made by the UFW, according to the ALRB regional director.
April 2003—The Agricultural Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint against Gallo. It stated that on Feb. 26, 2003, Gallo, through foreman Mario Crispin Perez, “assisted, supported, approved and encouraged the agricultural employees in his crew to sign a document which would lead to the filing of a petition to decertify the union.” The foreman specifically told workers they had to sign a paper, informing them it was “for work” and not explaining it was really to decertify the UFW.
Oct. 15, 2003: Half of the union's 10-worker negotiating committee are labor contractor employees, who now comprise 75% of the work force at Gallo of Sonoma. During a negotiations session, they cited Matt Gallo's statements during the March decertification campaign when he blamed the union for their lack of benefits; back then, Matt Gallo claimed the company had offered to cover labor contractor workers under benefits but the UFW refused--a flat-out lie. Labor contractor workers on the bargaining committee asked Matt Gallo to make good on his commitment. He remained silent.
Nov. 1, 2003—The UFW contract expired with Gallo still refusing to extend health and other benefits to labor contractor workers.
Nov. 22, 2003—More than 400 wine country workers and supporters march through the streets of Santa Rosa urging Matt Gallo to make good on his promise and provide health benefits to the 75% of his workers hired through farm labor contractors.
Dec. 19, 2003—A state judge ruled Gallo of Sonoma violated California law when it illegally tried to decertify, or get rid of, the UFW in March 2003. Administrative Law Judge Nancy C. Smith issued a decision concluding that Gallo of Somona unlawfully "assisted, supported and encouraged" the drive to oust the UFW.
January 2004—The UFW filed new charges against Gallo of Sonoma alleging the company fired a key witness, Eriverto Ramirez, because he testified against the wine industry giant at a recent hearing before a California administrative judge. Ramirez¹ testimony led to the judge¹s ruling in December 2003 that Gallo of Sonoma broke state law when it illegally tried to decertify, or get rid, of the union in March 2003.
Aug. 3, 2004—UFW President Arturo Rodrgiuez traversed the state from Los Angeles north to Sonoma County, pressing for a new contract with Gallo of Sonoma the day before a bargaining session with the winemaking giant. At L.A. City Hall, Rodriguez displayed petitions with the names of more than 25,000 Americans collected over the Internet. All pledged to boycott Gallo wines unless a "fair and just" contract is negotiated. He also unveiled a new GalloUnfair.com web site featuring the latest in cartoon animation created by renowned Chicano artist Lalo Alcaraz. The council passed a resolution backing the workers, who turned in their petitions at the company's wine tasting room that day in Healdsburg. Meanwhile, the SantaRosa Press Democrat newspaper published a UFW-sponsored full-page ad paid for entirely with funds collected via Internet appeals.
Aug. 4, 2004—After a full day's bargaining session in Santa Rosa between Gallo of Sonoma workers, UFW President Rodriguez and company officials, Gallo of Sonoma made very little movement on the major issues affecting the workers' lives. But Gallo is feeling the pressure from the new GalloUnfair.com web site, the more than 25,000 people who signed petitions and a continuing stream of e-mails and faxes. The company requested another negotiating session, which has been set for Aug. 31.
Aug. 29, 2004—At the UFW's 17th Constitutional Convention in Fresno, Calif., attended by more than 1,000 delegates and union members, a resolution was unanimously passed authorizing the use of economic action against Gallo of Sonoma, including a boycott, if it becomes necessary.
Aug. 31, 2004—The company refused movement on key issues of concern to the workers during another day-long negotiation session. In response to questions from reporters, the UFW said Gallo of Sonoma workers who have been without any pay raise for more than two years are not willing to accept a wage increase of just pennies a year from the biggest, richest and most powerful winery in America. And they are not willing to accept the Galloss refusal to provide decent benefits to the great majority of Gallo of Sonoma workers supplied by farm labor contractors.
Nov. 5, 2004—The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board in a unanimous ruling upheld an administrative judge's decision invalidating the March 2003 decertification election because the company was illegally behind the effort to oust the UFW. The question now is not whether Gallo is breaking the law but why? The answer is simple, according to the union: One of the richest winemaking giants in America in the heart of California¹s storied Wine Country wants to get away with refusing to provide any benefits to the great majority of its work force and continue to pay wages that are inferior to those provided by other wine grape growers in the same region.
June 14, 2005—Hundreds of farm workers and their supporters joined UFW President Arturo Rodriguez in declaring the second UFW boycott of Gallo wine in 32 years on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.
Boycott these Gallo Labels
|Bartles & Jaymes Coolers|
|Cask & Cream Caramel Temptation|
|Cask & Cream Chocolate Temptation|
|E & J Gallo Twin Valley|
|E&J Gallo Vineyards|
|E&J VS Brandy|
|E&J VSOP Brandy|
|Ernest & Julio Gallo Twin Valley Vineyards|
|Frei Brothers Reserve|
|Gallo Livingston Cellars|
|Gallo of Sonoma|
|Gallo of Sonoma County Series|
|Gallo of Sonoma Estate Series|
|Gallo of Sonoma Single Vineyard|
|Gallo Sheffield Cellars|
|Indigo Hills Blanc de Blancs|
|Louis M. Martini|
|McWilliams Hanwood Estate|
|Napa Valley Vineyards|
|Rancho Zabaco Winery:|
|Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve|