Workers at Salinas Valley grower strike, join union - The Packer

Workers at Salinas Valley grower strike, join union

06/21/2012 04:38:00 PM
Mike Hornick

SALINAS, Calif. – Employees of George Amaral Ranches Inc. voted to join the United Farm Workers union two days after starting a strike at the Gonzales-based grower-shipper. More than 300 cast ballots.

George Amaral Ranches grows and custom packs lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe and sweet corn – among other items – in the state’s Salinas and Imperial valleys.

Of the votes cast, 265 approved the union and 65 opposed it, a spokesman for the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board said. Voting began June 19 at the board’s Salinas office and finished the next day at George Amaral Ranches’ Rancho Rhodes in Chualar.

Workers in Chualar, which is between Salinas and Gonzales, walked out on strike June 18, according to a United Farm Workers news release. They are seeking higher wages and improved working conditions, according to the union.

Michael Saqui, the grower’s attorney and spokesman in the matter, did not immediately return a call. Management at George Amaral Ranches declined to comment.

The strike is ongoing. The company can file objections to the election, should it choose to. The union is asking to start contract negotiations.

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John Doe    
Salinas Valley  |  June, 21, 2012 at 05:24 PM

It's about time workers walk out on the grower/shipper. These individual have always been under payed and treated with no respect. These harvesters work under extreme conditions and treatment. I believe that these growers/shippers can pay there employees a more, but they rather not so they can get a better bonus check at the end of the year.

Salinas  |  June, 23, 2012 at 09:31 PM

Not a bonus, ag has become a real estate business, it's structure is to cover profits through high paying rents, and then loose money on the crops and justify they can not pay more money....they own the land.....and every couple of years rent goes up....growing cost of lettuce....11 dollars per box: labor cost 1.20, plus taxes, per 2.00.....all to the land lord....

Salinas  |  June, 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM

It's the small things that the workers get mad about that should be fixed immediatly. Piece rate isn't that hard to calculate and is probably better paying anyway..... It's the small things that the growers/shippers should watch, it's not that hard to buy aprons or rain jackets or pay per box while keeping the crews happy....

Sean Ital    
Moss Landing  |  June, 22, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Maybe. But more often than not a union just imposes another layer of bureaucracy and cost, cutting into the workers' salaries, and the employers' margins. Far better would be for the workers after they gained experience to get financing from our taxpayer subsidized banks and form their own worker owned/operated companies or co-ops.

June, 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM

you 3 should farm & harvest with the UFW and see how much fun and what the profitabilty is and just maybe you will have a real time education

Fort Yuma  |  June, 22, 2012 at 02:34 PM

Hold on--TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED Enough of this tapayer subsidized nonsense for another layer of bureaucracy costs for ANYTHING!

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