Act Now: Tell your US Rep farm workers deserve overtime
- Thursday, May 19th: Fundraising Awards Dinner
- Friday, May 20th
- – Delegates and Alternates only workshops
- – Union business activities
- Saturday, May 21
Saturday, May 21 convention session
All day: UFW Foundation Board of Immigration Appeals-accredited representatives will provide free consultation about immigration benefits and screening for eligibility for naturalization, DACA, DAPA/DACA+ and other relief. A free naturalization workshop is scheduled for 50 people who have signed up.
10 a.m.: Honoring UFW veterans of the historic 1965 grape strike, 1966 Delano-to-Sacramento march and the 1966 Rio Grande Valley, Texas melon strike and march. Farm labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta speaks.
10:40 a.m.: “Internal Organizing” report on recent union negotiating gains significantly boosting pay and benefits for farm workers, including new or re-negotiated pacts with some of the nation’s largest vegetable, strawberry, mushroom, wine grape, tomato and dairy companies. These contracts bring important wage hikes—from highs averaging $45,000 to $48,000 a year for mushroom pickers and pay of $23.84 an hour for the average fresh tomato picker to an average of $1 above what MIT calculates families need to decently live given the cost of living in local communities. Many UFW contracts feature full family medical coverage and dental and vision benefits. Union health and pension programs over the years have paid out about $500 million. See:https://www.ufw.org/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=16_news&b_no=18266&page=1&field=&key=&n=5
1 p.m.: Address by California state Treasurer John Chiang.
1:30 p.m.: President’s Report from UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez.
2 p.m.: Address by California Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris.
4:15 p.m.: Legal report on how the UFW is making gains for farm workers outside of union contracts by helping them file major wage and hour litigation to recover pay when they are cheated and by helping them bring gender discrimination lawsuits. Federal class-action litigation includes: Wage-and-hour suits covering tens of thousands of farm workers underway against Delano Farms and Gerawan Farming Inc.; a lawsuit filed for roughly 10,000 workers at Giumarra Vineyards who didn’t get paid for meal periods and had to buy their own tools; another suit over wage theft involving about 5,000 grape workers at Sunview Vineyards being settled for $4.5 million; and a lawsuit settled for $1.6 million in 2008 against Kovacevich Farms over the grower’s refusal to hire women.
5 p.m.: Address by California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D- San Diego) on AB 2757, “The Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016,” her bill to provide state farm workers with the same overtime pay after eight hours a day that nearly all other American workers have received since the 1930s.
- Sunday, May 22
Sunday, May 22 convention session
7:45 a.m.: Catholic Mass with Bishop Richard Garcia from the Diocese of Monterey, Calif. honoring the five UFW martyrs, four men and one woman killed during strikes.
10 a.m.: Address by California state Senate leader Kevin De Leon.
10:30 a.m.: Report on the last four years of UFW organizing: https://www.ufw.org/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=16_news&b_no=18266&page=1&field=&key=&n=5
—New UFW contracts, mostly in tomatoes, resulting from union organizing: Pacific Triple E, 450 workers, Stockton and Merced; Gargiulo Tomatoes, after 350 workers in Firebaugh walked out on strike and voted for the UFW; Amaral Ranches, after 300 Salinas Valley vegetable workers struck and voted for the UFW; San Joaquin Tomato Co., 350 workers in Madera; Papagni Fruit Co., 200 wine grape workers, Madera; Arnaudo Bros. 40 workers, tomatoes and other crops, Tracy.
—UFW-organized strikes in 2015: Stellar Distributing, 400 fig workers, and Specialty Crop, 200 fig workers, both in Madera (won modest pay hikes); O.P. Murphy Tomato Co., 150 workers in Hollister (pursuing negotiations); Cedar Point Nursery, 350 workers in Doris, Calif. near the Oregon border
—A total of 240 Ventura County workers at Hiji Bros. celery company and Seaview Growers nursery voted for the UFW in April 2016.
—Fighting to implement a state-ordered mediator’s contract for 5,000 tree fruit workers at Gerawan Farming Inc. while re-negotiating a second union contract.
11: 15 a.m.: Report on UFW global initiatives to protect farm workers in other states plus Mexico, Central and South America.
—As globalization is transforming agriculture, the UFW is organizing to remedy miserable farm worker pay and conditions and produce safer, higher quality food while meaningfully improving wages and other protections. The UFW co-founded the Equitable Food Initiative (equitablefood.org, EFI), a multi-stakeholder certification for fresh produce. EFI standards require growers to provide workplace protections and working conditions exceeding current legal requirements. Board members include leading food safety and environmental stewardship organizations, farm worker advocates, growers and Costco.
—In response to farm worker calls to be able to find work away from their communities without having to pay illegal recruitment fees, the UFW assisted in the creation of the CIERTO organization. An independent non-profit, CIERTO identifies, trains and dispatches workers in Mexico to farms both in Mexico and the United States. CIERTO works with farm employees and employers on both sides of the border to ensure no worker has to pay for the right to work, to stabilize the workforce and eliminate intimidation in the process.
—The UFW is partnering with a coffee farm in Nicaragua and two specialty coffee roasters to increase worker earnings while providing greater supply chain transparency. The UFW facilitated worker and management training that results in greater worker stability and the production of higher quality coffee.
—The UFW-launched Forced Labor Program tackles labor trafficking, debt peonage and slavery in U.S. agriculture. It uses education, outreach and collaboration with law enforcement to boost reporting, investigation and prosecution of labor and human rights violations. It also connects victims with social services and helps them obtain T visas (for human trafficking victims). The “Reportalo” element of the program raises awareness through social media, PSAs, a toll free number and a mobile app, all to report violations.
2:15 p.m.: Address by former President Bill Clinton.