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Facing labor shortages and inaction on immigration in D.C., UFW & D’Arrigo take novel local approach with breakthrough union contract

Salinas, Calif.—D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California President John D’Arrigo and United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez will sign a breakthrough union contract on Thursday ushering in a new collaborative approach with the parties working together locally to provide substantial benefits for both workers and employer. It comes at a time when the industry is confronting labor shortages and both sides are frustrated by bickering and inaction over immigration reform by policymakers in the nation’s capital.

More than 1,500 UFW members at D’Arrigo (1,200 in the Salinas Valley) will receive significant hourly and productivity pay hikes making them among the highest paid vegetable workers in California, the best family medical, dental and vision benefits for farm workers in the state 100 percent covered by the company, six paid holidays a year and other contract improvements. (D’Arrigo also employs about 350 vegetable workers in the Imperial Valley who are also included in the contract.)

D’Arrigo will achieve a competitive advantage by continuing to attract and maintain a better compensated, more experienced and professional work force with higher morale and productivity, as well as a higher quality product for consumers.

Both parties are pledging to eliminate or minimize conflicts, grievances and strife, and open a new relationship where management and union work collaboratively to help each other more effectively compete.

Who:  D’Arrigo Bros. President John D’Arrigo, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, D’Arrigo worker leaders from the union negotiating committee.

What: Signing a breakthrough union contract initiating a new collaborative relationship helping both parties more effectively compete by offering substantial benefits for both workers and grower.

When: 12 noon, Thursday, June 28, 2018.

Where: D’Arrigo Bros. Co. headquarters, 21777 Harris Rd., Salinas, Calif. 93908.

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Remarks by Arturo S. Rodriguez, President
United Farm Workers of America
D’Arrigo Press Conference
June 28,  2018 – Salinas, CA

Today marks a new day in the relationship between D’Arrigo Bros and the United Farm Workers. John D’Arrigo and I along with our respective teams are committed to creating a new partnership for progress.

I want to thank Armando Elenes, Lauro Barajas, Martin Alvarez, Lidia Soto, Rene Salas, Juan Manuel Moran, and worker negotiating team Efren Fraide, Pedro Gomez, Everardo Urueta, Olga Velarde, Odilia Aldana, Joel Carmona, Ruben Salud, Donato Maldonado, Nancy Higuera, Luis Casillas, Pablo Gregorio, Veronica Chavez, Ricardo Reyes, Gerardo Medrano, and our Imperial Valley Team: Carlos Gonzalez. We are proud to have worked closely with John D’Arrigo and his negotiations team to reach this historic partnership agreement.

The new collaborative agreement focuses on major issues facing farm workers and the industry today. Most importantly coverage under the Robert F. Kennedy Medical Plan which will include the entire family for medical, dental, and vision care. D’Arrigo Farming will pay for the entire cost for the workers to have this coverage. Wage rates well above the minimum wage. 6 Holidays paid for by the D’Arrigo Farming. Other items of significance are included in the summary sheet.

There are many challenges confronting the AG industry around labor, immigration, food safety, foreign competition, etc. For those reasons we want to create an environment where workers can make a good living and be treated in respectful way for their professional skills and talents.

If issues of concern rise then we want to resolve them in a fair and equitable way.

This new innovative partnership will foster spirit of collaboration and attract and retain the best workers. Together we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between the workers, D’Arrigo Bros management and the United Farm Workers family.

We are committed to finding solutions to harvesting food so consumers feel secure when purchasing any D’Arrigo product.

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Summary of re-negotiated United Farm Workers-D’Arrigo Bros. contract

  • Health plan: Coverage for workers and their family members under the joint union-management Robert F. Kennedy Medical Plan for complete health, dental and vision benefits at no cost to the workers with a $115 deductible for individuals and $230 for families. a $15 co-pay for doctor visits, coverage of up to 90 percent if using a preferred network or 80 percent if employee use a regular network and a $15 co-pay for prescription drugs.
  • Wages: 1st year: $13.35 an hour (an additional 10 cents per hour retroactive to April 1, 2018; company and union instituted a pay raise of 75 cents an hour for general labor in February 2018, to $13.25); 2nd year: $13.85; 3rd year: $14.40.
  • Incentive and box pay rate: 1st year increase of 3 percent; 2nd year increase of 3 percent; 3rd year increase of 2.5 percent.
  • Holidays: Six paid holidays per year.
  • Providing machine drivers and other workers the differential in pay they enjoyed before the company and union instituted the new base rate of $13.25 an hour in February 2018.
  • Bonuses: Brawley, Calif. (Imperial Valley) harvesters will qualify for bonuses after 500 hours of work instead of 700 hours.
  • Travel time: Helpers, loaders and machine operators who use their personal vehicles to change ranches will be paid for travel time at 50 cents per mile.