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UFW, Gerawan workers ask company not to be a Scrooge

Their holiday message: Honor the unanimous state high court ruling by implementing the workers’ union contract

Fresno, Calif.—Gerawan Farming Inc. employees will re-enact Las Posadas—a 400-year-old Latino Christmas tradition recalling Mary and Joseph’s search for refuge on their journey to Bethlehem—as they journey to their company’s Fresno headquarters at 4 p.m. on Wednesday delivering a simple holiday message: Don’t be a Scrooge this Christmas!

Workers will hand over more than 4,500 recently-collected signatures of farm workers and supporters on a holiday message urging the giant grower to observe the California Supreme Court’s unanimous Nov. 27 decision upholding the state’s landmark Mandatory Mediation Law that produced a union contract in 2013, which Gerawan has thus far refused to recognize.

Gerawan workers, coming straight from the fields, will wear shawls and Santa hats. Some will bring their children. They will carry the petitions wrapped in a big red bow. There will be none of the chants and protest signs of traditional labor rallies. The workers’ message: It’s time during the holidays to implement their union contact and ring in the New Year with a fresh start.

The state high court roundly rejected all of Gerawan’s legal and constitutional challenges to the Mandatory Mediation Law—including its claims of “abandonment” by the United Farm Workers—and upheld the statute’s constitutionality. Now that the Mandatory Mediation Law has been upheld, workers say after four years of stalling Gerawan should immediately honor their contract and pay the more than $10 million it already owes them.

The UFW calculated the difference between hourly pay Gerawan’s roughly 3,000 workers received and the higher wages they would have earned plus holiday pay under the state-ordered 2013 union contract. The workers also observe that Gerawan is the kind of example lawmakers had in mind when they passed the law in 2002 because the company has repeatedly been found guilty by the state of California of multiple and serious violations of its workers’ rights, including the right to their union contract.

Who: Gerawan farm workers.

What: Re-enacting Las Posadas and delivering a holiday message signed by more than 4,500 people urging the company not to be a Scrooge on Christmas.

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.

Where: Gerawan headquarters, 7108 No. Fresno St., Suite 450, Fresno 93720.

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