Press Advisory for UFW event Wed. Oct. 22nd 9 amtoct.

9 a.m. march, 10 a.m. council meeting

Epic battle with huge Central Valley grower plays out before L.A. City Council Wednesday

An epic battle by farm workers to implement their union contract with a giant Central

Valley grower—reminiscent of 1960s farm labor struggles—plays out before the Los

Angeles City Council Wednesday morning. Even as state prosecutors press their case

before a judge at a Fresno hearing over alleged flagrant labor law violations by

Gerawan Farming Inc., hundreds of Gerawan workers from Fresno County and L.A.

supporters will press at City Hall for a resolution calling on one of the nation’s

largest tree fruit producers to honor a contract issued last year by a neutral

mediator and approved by the state. Gerawan, which sells its Prima-label fresh produce

in L.A., is avoiding millions of dollars in pay increases and other benefits by refusing to

honor the contract.

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, L.A. Labor head Maria Elena Durazo, United

Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez and 100 Gerawan farm workers traveling

early that morning from Fresno County will lead other councilmembers and elected

officials plus labor, clergy and community activists in a 9 a.m. four-block march to

City Hall from Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. They will pack the council chambers

for the 10 a.m. hearing taking up the resolution by Councilmember Paul Koretz. See:

http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=14-

1190 (click on “Resolution” under “Online Documents” for text)

An administrative judge with the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board is presiding over

the fourth week of hearings in Fresno that will include months of sworn testimony on

sweeping complaints or indictments from state prosecutors charging Gerawan with

multiple, serious and repeated violations of the law aimed at “prevent[ing] the UFW from

ever representing its employees under a [union contract]” and at decertifying, or getting

rid, of the UFW, according to the ALRB general counsel, which issued the allegations. See:

http://www.ufw.org/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=gerawan_legal&b_no=15722&page

=1&field=&key=&n=11

The latest indicting complaint says, “Gerawan and its supervisors” unlawfully supported

workers who “stopped work and engaged in anti-UFW and anti-ALRB protests [to

promote] decertification [and that] Gerawan…coerc[ed workers] into participating in

protests.” Gerawan closed its fields, directing workers to pro-company demonstrations.

Gerawan also engaged in threats, interrogation and surveillance of workers, state

prosecutors allege.

Meanwhile, Gerawan reacts to the indicting complaints by claiming, without evidence, that

state investigators and prosecutors are biased. A slick PR campaign by radical right-wing

groups affiliated with Grover Norquist, who is backed by the Koch brothers, is being

orchestrated for Gerawan. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arturo-srodriguez/

bigmoney-radical-right-gr_b_5786868.html

Who: L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, L.A. Labor head Maria Elena Durazo, UFW

President Arturo Rodriguez, hundreds of Gerawan farm workers and supporters.

What: March from the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral to a hearing before the L.A. City

Council on a resolution urging Gerawan to implement a state-issued union contract under

which it owes workers millions of dollars.

When: 9 a.m. march, 10 a.m. council hearing, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

Where: March starts at 9 a.m. from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple

St., L.A. 90012, ending at L.A. City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., L.A. 90012.

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