First, 422 vegetable workers recently voted to bring in the United Farm Workers at Amaral Ranches in the Salinas Valley. Last week the State Farm Labor Board certified the UFW as the workers representative. Then the UFW signed a first-time union contract with Pacific Triple E Tomato Co., making its 800 fresh tomato workers in the Stockton area the highest paid tomato workers in America.
Those union wins inspired fresh tomato workers at Gargiulo Inc. near Firebaugh in west Fresno County to go out on strike July 9, and then 260 voted for the UFW on July 11, 186 to 40 (or 82 percent for the union). The state farm labor board certified the UFW as the workers' representative on July 19, 2012.
We immediately requested negotiations with Gargiulo and Amaral after receiving the certification from the state. Workers at both companies have elected a committee to take part in the bargaining. Now we are waiting for talks to begin.
This is an exciting time for farm workers.
Arturo S. Rodriguez, President United Farm Workers of America