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Permanent withdrawal of sexual harassment suit

For Release:
August 5, 1997

UFW co-founder Huerta hails permanent withdrawal of sex suit against union

United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta comatented on the permanent dismissal of a lawsuit tiled last January that claimed the UFW instructed women organizers to offer sex to farm workers in exchange for their support of the union. Berkeley attorney James D. Lorenz Jr. told a reporter for the La Opinion Spanish-language newspaper that he "has decided to withdraw the complaint about the charges of sexual harassment…due to doubts about the veracity of the [charges]," according to an article in the Los Angeles daily’s July 17 edition. The suit was dismissed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, with prejudice’s-meaning it cannot be refiled–through a "stipulation for dismissal" that Lorenz signed on July 9.

UFW Secretary-Treasurer Dolores Huerta, who has earned a national reputation as a leader in the labor and women’s movements, stated:

When the Lorenz lawsuit was first filed, the UFW insisted that none of the allegations about sex in exchange for union support were true. When tarn workers organize, they often face attempts to undermine their efforts by California agribusiness, which was worth $24.5 billion in 1966. This is among the most repugnant attempt I have ever seen.

The UFW has a proud 35-year history of fighting to end abuses facing women farm workers. Three members of the union’s seven-person executive board are women as are many leaders of the union’s strawberry workers organizing drive.

We hope news outlets will provide as rauch coverage on the withdrawal of this lawsuit as they did when it was filed.

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