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VENTURA MUSHROOM WORKERS CONFRONT GROWER OVER NOT COMMUNICATING HEALTH RISKS FROM FIRE AT PLAN
03/16/2001

1 p.m. Friday, March 16, in Ventura
VENTURA MUSHROOM WORKERS CONFRONT GROWER OVER NOT COMMUNICATING HEALTH RISKS FROM FIRE AT PLANT

Health warnings have been issued to the general public so people with breathing problems can avoid billowing, foul-smelling smoke spreading from a smoldering compost heap near Ventura. Yet dozens of workers at Pictsweet Mushroom Farms will confront ranch managers Friday because of the health risk they face from working daily only about 100 yards from the fire.

PictSweet management has yet to communicate with the workers about health risks. Meanwhile some workers are complaining about irritated eyes and breathing problems.

Who: Dozens of Pictsweet mushroom workers.

What: Confronting PictSweet managers over lack of communications about health risks from a fire that continues to burn.

When: 1 p.m., Friday, March 16, 2001.

Where: PictSweet Mushroom Farm headquarters located at 4440 Olivas Park Drive, (between Harbor Blvd. and Victoria Ave), Ventura, 93001.

More than 300 PictSweet mushroom workers are in the middle of a long labor dispute to win a UFW contract. They earn up to 15% less than mushroom workers employed at other California fresh mushroom ranches
where there are UFW contracts. Most have not seen a significant pay raise in four years. PictSweet workers also want an end to on-the-job favoritism and a better medical plan.

Negotiations have gone on since January with PictSweet refusing to respond to the workers' basic demands, the UFW states. The Cesar Chavez-founded union has contracts protecting about 70% of the mushroom workers on California's Central Coast. At the workers urging, the UFW has called for a boycott of fresh mushrooms and frozen vegetables with the PictSweet label.


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