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:
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:
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
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/
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.