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.