September 5 & 6, In Fresno
UFW to announce new contracts as Labor Day weekend convention in Fresno focuses on farm worker organizing and political goals
Organizing and contract negotiating gains as well as the Nov. 3 election for governor will be the focus as more than 500 delegates and alternates gather at the Fresno Convention Center Saturday and Sunday for the United Farm Workers' 14th Constitutional Convention. Speakers include Lt. Gov. Gray Davis, state Senate leader John Burton, Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, Oakland Mayor-elect Jerry Brown and California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres.
Theme of the two-day session is "Realizing Cesar's Dream." The union founded by Cesar Chavez is achieving that goal by "extending the benefits of UFW contracts to bring about real change for farm worker families," says Arturo Rodriguez, Chavez's successor as union president. After kicking off a major new organizing drive in 1994, the UFW has won 16 straight secret-ballot union elections and 21 new contracts with growers. Since then, membership has grown by 6,000 workers, to more than 26,000.
Rodriguez will use the convention to announce three new union contracts: Vista Management Co., employing 75 vineyard workers in the NapaValley; San Joaquin Tomato Co. with 150 workers in the Stockton area; and Balletto Farms with 100 year-round vegetable workers in Sonoma County. He will also report on progress in bargaining with San Clemente Farms, a large tomato and cucumber ranch with 350 workers in north San Diego County.
In addition to continuing a drive to organize Central Coast strawberry workers, convention delegates will reaffirm the UFW's commitment to ongoing battles for union contracts covering more than 3,000 farm workers. They include 1,700 peak harvest workers at the giant D'Arrigo Bros. Co. in Salinas Valley, Huron and Brawley; 500 workers at Warmerdam Packing Co., King County's largest tree fruit producer; and 400 workers laboring for Gallo Vineyards in Sonoma County.
Who: Five hundred farm worker delegates and alternates as well as union supporters.
What: United Farm Workers' 14th Constitutional Convention focusing on organizing and election goals.
When: Saturday & Sunday, September 5-6, 1998.
Where: Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall.
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