For Release: July 27, 1997
1:30 p.m. Thursday in Watsonville
Hundreds of retired Central Coast UFW members receiving pension checks; many at ceremony with union and grower trustees
More than seven dozen retired Central Coast farm workers will be handed checks reflecting increased union pension benefits at a Wednesday ceremony in Watsonville hosted by United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez and Monterey Mushrooms Inc. CEO Shah Kazemi. Both are trustees of the UFW’s Juan de la Cruz Pension Plan.
Altogether, 278 retired UFW members in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties will receive checks this month totaling $238,549. At least 95 of them will be on hand to personally accept individual checks. One 92-year old will receive a check for $12,302.
WHO: UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, Monterey Mushrooms Inc. CEO Shah Kazemi, Pension Plan Administrator Douglas Blaylock and 86 retired union pensioners.
WHAT: Handing retirees checks for increased pension benefits.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Thursday, June 19, 1997.
WHERE: Watsonville Community Center, [street address, cross]
The higher benefits come from improved technology and administrative efficiencies at the pension plan, which is jointly overseen by trustees representing the UFW and unionized employers out of the union’s Keene, Calif. headquarters near Bakersfield. A new state-of-the-art computer system was installed four years ago to handle claims and benefits. At that time, the pension plan also transferred computing benefits from an outside administrator to in-house staff at the plan office.
Benefits are computed based on the number of hours each farm worker labors under union contract. Before the new computer and administrative changes, the hours histories for many workers were incomplete. A team of pension plan staff thoroughly reviewed and corrected the hours history for each current and retired union member going back 25 years. Then the plan adjusted the benefits they receive. In most cases, retired UFW members are receiving higher monthly pension checks.