Keep Me in the Loop!

Injunction granted against Tsukiji strawberry farms


Statement From Arturo S. Rodriguez, President
United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO
On Injunction Against Tsukiji Farms
June 13, 1997–Watsonville, Calif.

The injunction issued by Judge Sam Stevens is a victory for the workers who were discriminated against and not rehired by Tsukiji Farms.

It is the first injunction sought by the ALRB in many years. The judge’s decision indicated that is very likely that these workers have been victims of discrimination and will win their case.

The United Farm Workers has been pressing for weeks for a court injunction against Tsukiji Farms because it is the only way to provide strawberry workers who support the UFW with relief from shameless discrimination.

This year’s harvest season will be over around September. But it could take years before Tsukiji berry workers who have been denied their jobs achieve any justice through the Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s lengthy administrative process of hearings and appeals.

However, the illegal discrimination against strawberry workers that prompted the ALRB to move against Tsukiji is happening at dozens of other strawberry ranches throughout the Central Coast. These workers sins include wearing UFW buttons, attending union meetings and being seen talking with union organizers. They too deserve aggressive enforcement of the law protecting the right to organize.

For Release: May 22, 1997

11 a.m.-5 p.m. in Sacramento

Watsonville strawberry workers at vigil today
demanding ALRB get their jobs back

11 a.m.-5 p.m. in Sacramento

Watsonville strawberry workers at vigil today
demanding ALRB get their jobs back

Strawberry workers from Watsonville are conducting a six-hour vigil today in Sacramento demanding that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) act quickly against a grower who is refusing to rehire pickers during the 1997 harvest season because of their support last year for the United Farm Workers.

Veteran workers from Tsukiji Farms in Watsonville are spending Thursday at the ALRB’s Sacramento office urging that the farm labor board seek a court injunction putting them back to work. Also with the group are other workers who are also being refused their jobs because they are identified as UFW supporters.

WHO: Strawberry workers from Tsukiji Farms in Watsonville plus local farm worker supporters.

WHAT: Urging the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to act against Tsukiji Farms for refusing to rehire veteran pickers who support the UFW.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, May 22, 1997.

WHERE: ALRB headquarters, 915 Capital Mall, 3rd Fl. (between 9th & 10th, Capital Mall & L St.).

Last year management at Tsukiji repeatedly told workers who wore UFW buttons or were identified as union activists that there would be no work for them during the 1997 harvest. "Let’s see if the union will feed you," foremen told the workers. "Whoever supports the union will not have a job next season," another Tsukiji official said.

Making good on its pledge, this year Tsukiji only planted about half the strawberry acres as last season. The company work force is down from 103 in 1996 to 38 today. Few of the pickers identified as UFW supporters last season have been rehired. Seventeen veteran Tsukiji workers who support the union have filed charges with the ALRB and are asking that their jobs be restored. The Tsukiji workers are part of a major union organizing drive among strawberry workers on California’s central coast.