I worked in the crew of Irma "Choco" Alarcon with Farm Labor Contractor Russell who worked the fields of VBZ in the 2006 season, harvesting grapes. I was making minimum wage of $6.75 an hour.
My family and I have worked many years with farm labor contractors and this one was especially terrible. The bathrooms were filthy; we could not even eat in comfort from the stench that came from them. They always put them far away so that we did not have to smell them but then that caused us to have to walk a long while to use the bathrooms. They did not provide enough bathrooms to the crew since there were only four (4) bathrooms and we had 65 workers in our crew.
When we started working with this crew, the forelady told me and my family who also works alongside me that we had to wash our trays that we used to carry the grapes on our own time. After a long day's work, we still had more work to do at home. Even though it is California law and we are only making minimum wage we still had to buy our own scissors that we used to pick the grape if we wanted to work. We also had to come in early before work and prepare our work area by placing labels on the boxes, getting a wheel barrow and table for us to pack in. Something needs to be done. I noticed that most of the company crews did not have to do this but the farm labor contractor crews did.
I worked in the crew of foreman Manuel of farm labor contractor Russell Contracting in the fields of VBZ during grape harvesting season in 2006. I was paid minimum wage $6.75 an hour and 28 cents as a bonus for every box of grapes picked.
I've been working for Russell Contracting for two years. My experience in working with Russell Contracting has been unpleasant. Our foreman gave us instructions to begin work before the time scheduled. If we refused, the foreman would get upset.
Furthermore, we were never given gear for work; grape picking sheers as an example. The foreman said it was our responsibility to purchase the tools without receiving reimbursements.
We were given the task of washing our trays at home, trays which are used to load and carry the picked grapes; however some workers found it necessary to wash them during their given break, for if the trays weren't washed the foreman would be upset.
The bathrooms were always kept unclean and without toilet paper. No hand washing soap or water was provided as well. There were times I had to work near a portable toilet and the odor was unbearable, however, I had to withstand the scent, for if anything was mentioned to the foreman he would say, "If you don't like it, leave."
The provided drinking water had a taste of chlorine. My co-workers and I only drank the provided water when the water we brought from home had run out.
I still continue to work every grape season with Russell Contracting under the same conditions because under every Contractor; working conditions are the same.
I worked in the crew of Irma "Choco" Alarcon with Farm Labor Contractor Russell who worked the fields of VBZ in the 2006 season, harvesting grapes. I was making minimum wage of $6.75 an hour.
On January 20,2006 the crew of Inna "Choco" Alarcon got together during our noon lunch break and about 50 of us walked over to the crew of Foreman Juan Servin working next to us on the next vineyard block to motivate them and urge them to organize and join us in our struggle to form a union. We invited them to join us outside of the rows for a meeting and many of them came out to participate. There was no threats made and no one was forced to join us at the meeting. Before the end of our noon lunch break we walked back to our work area.
Soon after we had started working, our forelady Irma "Choco" Alarcon called us out of the vineyard rows for a meeting. Choco told us that we should not have done what we had done because we created problems and the company was mad. While we were in the meeting, a supervisor by the name of Ramon (last name unknown) stopped by on a white company truck and I heard him ask Choco if she had told us about the problems we had created. He also addressed the crew and informed us that we should not go over to other crews because there would be problems with the company and that we were not allowed to leave our work area. He also informed us that soon after the Farm Labor Contractor Jesusa "Susy" Cantorna was going to come by and he did not know what was going to happen to our crew because of what we had done. I feel this is retaliation from the company for us exercising our right to talk to other co-workers. The company's general supervisor Clemente (last name unknown) also drove by in a white company truck and told us that we should not be creating problems with the other crews.
I have worked many years with farm labor contractors and this one was especially terrible. The bathrooms were filthy; we could not even eat in comfort from the stench that came fkom them. They always put them far away so that we did not have to smell them but then that caused us to have to walk a long while to use the bathrooms. They did not provide enough bathrooms to the crew since there were only four (4) bathrooms and we had 65 workers in our crew which only made the problem worse.
The forelady told us that we had to wash our trays that we used to carry the grapes on our own time when we got home and we had to buy our own scissors that we used to pick the grapes with. We also had to come in early before work and prepare our work area by placing labels on the boxes, getting a wheel barrow and table for us to pack in.
I worked in the crew of Nemecio Panchillo with Farm Labor Contractor Chester Longboy also known as "Macario Santacruz" who worked the fields of VBZ in the 2006 season, harvesting grapes. I was making minimum wage of $6.75 an hour
This was my first year with this farn labor contractor but I have over 10 years working in the fields with farm labor contractors and this farm labor contractor inexplicably would come and belittle us and yell at me and my co-workers. The bathrooms were always dirty and sometimes as much as a week would go by without them being cleaned. Some of the women in the crew would use the men's bathroom instead since theirs was unbearable. When the foreman would go and move the bathrooms to another site, the stench was so unbearable that I would go deep into the rows just to get away from the smell. The crew had 54-60 workers in the crew and we only had the use of one bathroom each for the men and women.
The foreman was constantly telling us that we had hurry up and we worked as hard as we could but sometimes, we could not keep up the pace. The foreman had family working in the crew and he always would go and help them so that they were always ahead of us. He would tell us that that the other crews were doing much more work than us and try play us against each other. When we were doing the deleafing a company supervisor would be at one end of the row and the foreman would be on the other end. If they saw any minor error, the supervisor would make us run back and clean it up and which caused us to get further behind the rest of the crew.
When we started working with this crew during the harvest, the foreman told me and my wife who also works alongside me that we had to wash our trays that we used to carry the grapes on our own time. He would tell us, "If your tray is not clean, you will be fired." I sometimes would have to take my own tray to work because the one they provided was so old and broken that it was useless. I had to bring scissors and all other materials needed to work. We also had to come in early before work and prepare our work area by placing labels on the boxes, getting a wheel barrow and table for us to pack in. Since the quotas for the day was so high, some of the workers would try to get ahead and meet the day's quota by staring early and working through their breaks and lunch hour. I overheard a supervisor tell the foreman that he did not want to see anyone putting labels on the boxes during work time.
The foreman would also place 12 to 14 extra names on the payroll to be able to collect extra checks even though they were not working and make extra money on the side.
I am 29 years old and a single mother to three children, a 9 year old girl, 7 year old boy and a 2 year old baby. My husband passed away 2 years ago. My husband’s passing put a strain on our finances but between me and my mother in law which lives with us we have been able to get by.
I’m getting worried now. Both my mother in law and I work in the citrus industry. She was laid off from the fields in December and hasn’t worked since. I expect to be laid off within days. I’ve started to look for work but there aren’t any jobs, all we know is field work and there aren’t any oranges to pick, sort or pack. I can get $118 every two weeks from unemployment benefits but it is not nearly enough to cover my $742 mortgage and the $250 in monthly gas and electric bills. I’m considering moving out to Las Vegas, NV to find work. My sister in law lives there and says I may find a job at a hotel or casino, but even that is uncertain. I’ll have to leave my children behind, I don’t want to take them from the only home they know. If I’m forced to move to Las Vegas I’ll be able to see my children every other month, with the high gasoline prices I can’t visit them more often. I haven’t told my children that I may have to go to Las Vegas because of the citrus freeze, I know that they will cry non-stop and I don’t think I could take that. I’ll have to make a decision next week.
I have worked at Coastal Berry Farms as a strawberry picker for six years. I had never seen the things that are happening right now. All the fruits and vegetables are freezing and dying and affecting all of us, the workers. The way it’s affecting me is because there is no production and is holding us from surviving. The economy is very hard right now because everything is very expensive and if we do not have work we are not having any earning. In order for us to support us and our families we work in these fields. Due to the freeze we are not working our regular hours. For about a month or two I do not know if am going to work some days or no day at all.
In order for me to survive here in the United States I need to pay rent, utilities and food. In order to support my family and pay all the incoming payments I have to work and have some income. If this freeze continues we are not going to have enough work and money to pay all of the bills and food.
I am 35 years old, my husband and I have six children ranging in age from three to 19 years old. Two of my children live Mexico, all but one are U.S. citizens. It is sad that our family is not together but we try to visit our children and send them money often. Now that the freeze has hit we have considered moving to Mexico, but how do we go back and start all over when we have built our lives here.
I have worked in the fields since 1989. I have a regular work cycle, I work the citrus until the season ends then move to the grapes. When the grape season ends I start the citrus again. This is how we are able to get by. We work most of the week and at the end of the workweek when we get our paychecks we pay all our bills and whatever little is left over we spend on our family. We like to treat our kids with a trip to McDonalds or by throwing a family barbecue. Lately we have been cutting back on expenses and that means no treats for the kids. It’s hard to turn them down when they ask us for things that we can’t afford. A big concern is that my six year old needs dental work. Medi-Cal does not cover dental and we don’t know how we are going to pay for it.
My husband and I do not qualify for unemployment benefits because we are undocumented. Since my children are U.S. citizens, we can apply for food stamps at the local welfare office, these past days the local welfare office has been getting so many people that they have started closing their doors as early as noon. We had to cut back on groceries, before we could afford to have meat three or four times a week, now we just have rice, beans and tortillas for most of the week. The temperatures drop to the mid 20s at night but we can’t afford to turn on the heater because it is too expensive. We turn the heater on a few hours in the evening while we are having dinner, but when the children go to bed, we try to bundle them with blankets and still our gas bill comes to $84 a month which is still a lot of money for us to pay. Our mortgage payment alone is $989 a month and I don’t know how we are going to be able to get by.
My husband and I have three children ranging in ages from six to sixteen years old. I have worked in the citrus industry since 1991. My husband can’t work because he sustained an injury at work. We spent the holidays visiting family in Arizona, when we came back to California the citrus freeze was all over the news. We were caught off guard, we were not expecting it nor were we prepared. I’ve been able to work on and off but the packinghouse is expected to shut down operations in less than a week.
During the last citrus freeze my family and I received a lot of help from the UFW. They assisted us in getting help to make four months of our mortgage payments. We also got help with our utility bills. During the months of the freeze the UFW helped me find employment and my family received periodic food donations. I am confident that the UFW will help us get through this freeze once again.
My wife and I, and our three children, live in a ‘colonia’ called Los Encinos near Alamo, Texas.
I am employed as a farm worker, and have worked in the fields all my life. Field work is very difficult and often dangerous, but it is also very important since it provides food for the entire world.
I have been earning the minimum wage of $5.15 since 1997. Here in Texas, employers think that $5.15 is the Maximum hourly wage that people should earn.
Working for the minimum wage, I do not earn enough to provide what my children need for school. With the increases in our utility bills and the price of gasoline, we cannot make ends meet. We desperately need to have an increase in the minimum wage.
With wages so low, we cannot make a decent living and are forced to depend on assistance from the government to survive. I want to be able to provide for my family with my own work.
I worked for the company Charles Krug-Mondavi for 13 years.
I have four children, one that is 18 years, 14, 8, and 5 years and as of July 7, I was discharged from the company Charles Krug-Mondavi. I have had trouble in finding a stable and secure job given that I am currently working just a few hours or part-time without any type of benefits, like the ones I previously had for me and my family from the company that fired me.
Now that the holidays are coming, I feel worried for my children given that I am not sure as to whether I will be able to make them the dinner that I prepare for them every year or whether I will be able to give them any of the presents that are expected every year. With the little that I am able to work, I can barely afford to take home any food to them.
One of my major worries is that my children are currently without medical insurance and I cannot afford to provide them with medical insurance. First, because I do not have a medical plan at my work and second, because I can not afford to pay medical plan package given that it is too expensive.
What I most desire is to return to my former job so that I can continue the benefits that I had.
I am going to continue fighting until justice is served and so that these types of companies do not continue to exploit workers as if they were merely tools and so that they do not do away with us workers whenever they feel the need to do so. For these reasons I want to continue helping out so that the farm worker can be treated with dignity like a human being.
I worked for the company of Charles Krug Mondavi for 7 years.
Since the day I was discharged on July 7, 2006 of the company Charles Krug Mondavi I’ve been looking for a jog everywhere, but I’ve yet to find a stable one, in occasions I work once or twice a week as a day labourer, and for all of this, I feel very sad and depressed and especially now that the holidays are coming. All of this has impacted my family and I in a negative way.
Working as a day labourer once or twice is the only way that I could bring some food home to my kids, everyday that passes by, I’m not sure if it’ll be the same as the previous day, and all of this for not having stable job.
Regarding the holidays, I feel pity and sad because this Christmas will be different to other years, because my kids wont receive the presents that they did in previous years.
I will continue to fight to better our situation, and return back to normality, everyday I maintain a good faith and wish that the law could give a just failure for me and for my co-workers.
I am employed with Pandol & Sons for a labor contractor called J & B Pimental. I have been employed with them for 1 ½ years. My foreman’s name is Oscar and we work with the grapes doing field work.
I have been making $7.25 per hour working 38 hours per week sometimes less due to the type of work that we are doing right now.
I have a family of 4 this includes my wife that lives in Mexico. I have 3 teenagers, and my wife Margarita who I support in Mexico. I have not seen my family for four (4) years.
At the moment, I live with 5 of my relatives, my oldest son Guillermo, my daughter Margarita, her husband Miguel and my grandson Miguel Angel who is 3 years old. We pay $200.00 per adult for rent including utilities which is $800.00 per month. I have a vehicle, and sometimes I take one or two workers to work, and we all pitch in for gas. Because of the gas being so high we should get a little more for our pay, it’s just to much right now the way things are.
The last time I got a raise was about a month ago where they gave us $.25 cents raise. We get no benefits. And, the reason we got a raise was because the United Farm Workers were in the fields speaking to the workers.
I feel very pressured because I do not have enough money to see my family, and it makes me very sad that I can’t do more for them.
I work at Vignolo Farms, here in Delano, picking grapes. I have been working there two (2) years now, about eight months out of the year. I get paid at $7.35 an hour, with bonus at .35 cents per box.
I have been married for about 12 years now, and I have 6 children, ranging from 10 years to 14 months old. My wife works every now and then. With the income that we get per month, we find it hard making ends meet. The rent is high and so is the gas. We are thankful that our children are healthy and well. At times, when our children do get sick, we have to pay with money that we don’t have. This puts a strain on our ability to pay our basic necessities, but what are we to do?
Every now and then, I will talk with my family and friends about how low the wages are for the hard work that we do. At times, we help each other out by borrowing money when needed. This is sometimes embarrassing, because I know that my family or friend is making a sacrifice for my family. Life should not be lived like this.
It would be great for the company to pay us enough to be able to pay our bills, which are modest in comparison to what I see in the cities. I feel that for the hard work that we do, that we should be able to make ends meet, to pay all our bills and also be able to see our children in better circumstances.
I work at Lucich Farms, which is located in Delano, Ca. I have been working there almost five (5) years now. I get paid at $7.35 an hour for the work that I do as a tractor driver, mechanic, general maintenance, in short, whatever needs to be done.
Every year, we have been asking the company for a raise, and every year the company says that they will be giving us one soon. But it never happens. This last time, it was in June of this year, he promised us again that a raise would be forth coming, but it has yet to happen. The last raise that we got was about 1 ½ years ago, when our hourly rate went from $7.00 to $7.35. Still, this is not enough money for the type of work that we do.
I have been married for 21 years and I have 5 children, ranging from 19 years to 11 years old. The money that I make I send at least half to Queretaro, Mexico, where my family is located. I have been here for almost 11 years and ever since then, my dream was to bring my family here to the United States, to be able to pursue a better livelihood. But because of the harsh working conditions, those dreams have slowly dissipated and I only think now of returning to my family sometime soon.
Right now, I am here to demand more respect for my fellow workers and for myself. There are times when we are spraying pesticides without the proper equipment. I have seen many of my co-workers get hurt at this farm and the supervisors do nothing but fire them and ignore their rights. There are many more injustices that have happened at the Lucich Farms, but I will only get more upset. I am tired of getting upset. I am here to do something about bringing change for ourselves.
We do not have vacations, holidays, no medical plan. Whenever we get hurt, we have to fend for ourselves in paying the bills. Every time we ask the company for a raise, they cry tears and find many ways to tell us that they can’t. But we know that they can.
I am married and mother of 3 sons. I have been working for the last 30 years at D’Arrigo Bros. Life has not been easy due to the wages I receive from there, I can barely pay for the most essential needs such as the rent and food. My children have gotten their education thru loans and up to date they are still paying for them, and as if that’s not enough.
I started working at 17 years old, back then the cost of living was much lower, for example the rent, food, gas, clothing, etc were much cheaper than today. Since then the cost of living has been going up year after year and for us women working for this company, they have not given us respect. I say this, because they have not given us the opportunity to apply to other better positions. Such positions as tractor driver, machine operator, forewomen or supervisor. We, women, have the capacity to do this type of work too. It is obvious that this company thinks that we, women, could only perform general labor. As I have been for the last 30 years with no opportunity to inspire to get a better position.
In addition, if the company would of signed a contract with the Union, we would have had a decent pension plan, wages and benefits that will be helpful when we are ready to retire.
My name is Fidel Arriago, I am 62 years old I have worked for the company D’Arrigo for approximately 13 years picking broccoli. During all these years, I have never had any problems because I have always been a good worker and responsible season after season. But the company started to notice that season after season, I was getting older. The company is always trying to get rid of older workers, like me, and replacing them with young workers. With me, the first time they started pressuring me was in 2004 & 2005 thru the foreman, Sergio Treviño. He started asking more of me than the other workers. Clearly, he wanted me to quit my job because never before had he done this. They also, started making comments about my age. The first one that started was Sergio, he state to me, “no matter how, I will fire you from the company because you are too old.” I then complained with his supervisor, Conrado, and he stated to me, “if I were you, I would look for another job and leave this one. At that moment, Conrado called Pedro Santiago, General Supervisor of the broccoli. Pedro came and told me, “you just have to work harder because no one is going to bring your check home.” Insinuating that he was going to fire me.
In 2005, I spoke with John S of Human Resources who is in charge of the whole company. He told me that I needed to fix my problem with Pedro Santiago who is the general supervisor of the broccoli. Pedro then told me, “Arriaga, you need to recognize that you are too old, me too when I get to be your age, I will leave my spot to the young ones.” He made me feel ashamed of my self and I saw that no one was going to listen to me. So, then I asked the United Farm Workers Union for help and they took a declaration from me. They placed charges for age discrimination and up to this point they have not fired me. My work is all I have because the only thing I have is the trailer that I live in and if I am out of work, I don’t know what am I going to do to survive in this area that has a high cost of living.
I live in Salinas, California with my family which consist of my wife, my son and 2 grandchildren. In this county life is very expensive to live in; its very difficult to pay the rent, food and utilities.
I have approximately 14 years working with the company D’Arrigo. Fourteen years ago the cost of living was lower, for example, the rents during that time were $300 for a house with 2 bedrooms. At this time, the rent for a house with 2 bedrooms is $1500. It is very clear that the cost of living is much higher now. During those 14 years, we have not received a wage raise from the company. Which causes us, the workers, to be in a very difficult situation and we must share our homes with other families.
In my case the situation is much more difficult, because in June of this year, I got hurt at the company. The company sent me to their doctor and the doctor sent me back to work. And because I was hurt, the company lowered my wages. I have given part of my life to this company and I have always been a constant and responsible worker. And for something that was out of my control, I can no longer keep up with my co-workers. The company has made me feel ashamed by lowering my pay and letting me know that I am worth less than my co-workers. I work here and I make D’Arrigo richer. All this has happenedd because my hand was cut and I am not the only one that the company has done this to. They do this to all the workers who get hurt, they make us feel ashamed of ourselves.
I live here with my wife, my 4 sons and 2 daughters. My wife & I work for the company D’Arrigo Bros. for past 25 years; picking broccoli.
We have given our best years to this company and during this whole time, the company instead of raising our wages, they have cut our wages.
This is not fair, that is why we got together with our co-workers and we are fighting to get a fair contract with better wages.
The cost of living is getting higher; right now the rents are costing $1500 or more. Even with the high cost of living, this unfair company is proposing to freeze our wages for the next three years.
For all these years, the company has refused to negotiate a fair contract and bargain in good faith with us (the workers) and the UFW union who represents us.
In the year 2000, we put charges against them for negotiating in bad faith and in 2005, the Judge found them guilty; ordering them, as a remedy, to pay us loss of wages and benefits from 2000 on and up to date, and will continue until the company negotiates in good faith with the UFW.
Instead of obeying the Judge’s orders, they appealed his decision with the Board of Directors of the ALRB. In such hearing, the Board of Directors of the ALRB agreed with the Judge’s decision and found them guilty of negotiating in bad faith and ordered them to continue with the previous order of paying the workers for the losses they have suffered.
On July 27, 2006, again we got together with the company and once again they came to negotiations proposing to freeze our wages for three years more. It is very obvious, that this company does not care of its workers sufferings. It does not care what the law is ordering them, they have always stepped all over us and they are stepping all over the law too.
It is time to make this unjust company respect us; we will continue fight until justice is done and we need your help.
I live with my family together with 2 other families. We live together with 2 other families because the economic situation is very difficult in this area. Where a 3 rooms house rent value is $1500 to $1800 per month, this is one of the most expensive areas to live in.
At this time, I work for D’Arrigo Bros Company. This company has operations in Monterey County, Huron, Brawley, and Arizona.
Thie company employs about 3000 workers. Just in the Monterey County there is a workforce of around 2000 workers.
I have worked for this company since 1991--that make a total of 15 years of service for this company.
In 1994, I got fully involved with the negotiating committee of this company. They were fighting with the company to have a fair contract with the United Farm Workers union--UFW.
Since that time, the company has shown no desired to develop a good relationship with the workers and the union. To the contrary, the company has made negative changes that affect most of the workers.
Starting with the example that in the 15 years that I have been working for the company, we have not received a wage increase; to the contrary, in some classifications the company has lowered the wages with the excuse that the company spent too much money in buying machinery.
For all this time, the company has been proposing in the contract negotiations, no increases for 3 years. They are also proposing to have the right to discharge or discipline workers for whatever reason. Refusing to accept the standard clause of just cause and not to mention the right to release all the workforce with labor contractor workers outside of the contract.
In 2000, by evaluating the company’s proposals and attitude, we felt that the company was not respecting us and we decided to file charges against the company negotiating in bad faith.
In 2004, we had the hearings against the company and in 2005, we got a favorable decision. In such decision, the judge determined that for all this time the company has been negotiating in bad faith. His order includes a make whole the company has to pay loss of wages and benefits to the workers. Also, he ordered the company to negotiate in good faith with the union or the make whole will continue.
The company appealed this decision to the ALRB executive board. The ALRB board in their decision, re-affirmed the judge’s decision and ordered the company again, to pay the workers loss of wages and benefits and to negotiate a contract in good faith.
On July 27, 2006, we held another negotiation meeting with the company, to our surprise, the company again came back to the negotiations proposing no wage increases for 3 years. Again not accepting the concept of the just cause to discipline and discharge; and proposing the right to replace all current workers with labor contractor, if they want.
In some of the working areas, the company is proposing the minimum wage of $6.75 per hour. How can anybody live with this salary?
The company also owed us, the workers, alot of money because the company was found guilty of the charges that were filed.--for forcing us, the workers, to use the company’s buses to go to work to the different ranches. The company was using our time the way they felt like it without paying a penny for it.
There were situations where the company would discipline workers if they did not show up at 6:00 a.m. but they would start paying us at 7:00 a.m.
In this case, the company was found guilty but the same way that the company found excuses in negotiations, they have used so many tactics to avoid paying the money they owe us. In summary they have not paid us.
It’s very clear that this company has no respect for anybody, to accomplish their goal of making millions of dollars in profit. They do not care about their workers, they do not care about the law. They will step on anybody who is in their way to make their profit. We have been dealing with this unfair company and we are going to keep fighting but we need your help.
I have worked for Giumarra Vineyards for about seven years. On June 14, 2006 we started to work at about 6:00 am. It was a windy day. The company was spraying pesticides in the vineyards about fifty feet away from us workers.
I don’t really remember much but I do remember that I started to feel dizzy and weak. I got a cough attack. After that I passed out. My son, Ruben Celio, was calling me asking me if I was OK, but I couldn’t answer as I was too weak. I was taken by an ambulance to the hospital At the hospital they did a blood test, gave me an injection and put on a respirator mask to help me with me breathing. After a few hours I went home.
While being at home at around 8:00 pm, I begin to feel sick again so my family took me to the Kern Memorial Hospital. There all they did was take ex-rays of my chest and send me home. The following day, a representative of the company named Mario came over my home to take me to the company doctor so that I could get a check up. When I got there, the doctor took a blood sample and said that I had a vaginal infection. That it was a personal problem.
My family was disappointed that the company doctor was trying to make it seem like it was a personal problem and so was I because I knew that whatever they were spraying had an effect on my health. I know that I need help, and I’m glad that the UFW is helping me. They found a workers comp lawyer to take care of my case. The lawyer also had to send me to see a doctor, where he determined that I had something wrong with lungs and that it had something to do with the fumes of the pesticides. I am so thankful that I have the representation of the UFW.
I have worked for Guimarra for about three years in the crew of Jose Basilio (foreman).
On June 14, 2006 we started working at 6:00 am working the company started to spry their fields with pesticides. There was eighteen workers in are crew all together. We must have been about fifty feet away but it was windy that day.
Three of my co workers including me began to very sick, I was dizzy, nauseated, and my body was weak. I imagine that it was because of the pesticides the wind was blowing the fumes our way. I then informed Seene (supervisor) for Guimarra, that I was not feeling good, he just told me to go and sit down under the vineyards in the shade they started to tell the workers to get out of the vineyards and to go home to come back tomorrow .
After a co workers was send to a Hospital by ambulances Seene (Supervisor) and Joe Guimarra came over to ask me if I was feeling better. I said yes only because they wanted to send me to company doctor, and he takes a long time to see his patients, just wanted to get seen fast and find out what was wrong with me.
When my co worker took me home I explained to my husband what had happened I asked him to take me to the Hospital so that I could get seen faster. While we were waiting the company had send Mario from their staff to take me to the company doctor he said that it was his duty to take me to go see the company doctor. I didn't want to go because he would take a long time to see me Mario then told me that the company doctor was waiting for me that he was going to see me faster. I decided to go.
When I got there the doctor took good samples and at the end of my check up he said that it seemed that I had a vaginal infection and that I could go see my personal doctor for treatment. He didn't give me medicine. He said that whenever the test result came back from the lab he would then give me medicine. I could go home and come back in four days. The next day I was feeling the same I then told my husband to take me to the Hospital I just couldn’t stand being so sick.
The symptoms haven’t gone away I still feel sick and I just can’t believe that the company is trying to make it seem that I had a personal problem. I m glad that the union is representing me and guiding me to make sure that I get the proper treatment for my recovery.
I have worked for Guimarra Vineyards for approximately 6 years.
On June 14, 2006 we started to work at about 6:00 a.m out in the area of Ducor Rd, 208 at Guimarra vineyards. Santos Ramon Monsor (2nd in charge) told our crew of (18) workers that the company (Guimarra) was spraying the fields, for us not to pass a white post. The distance was about fifty feet from our work place and was windy that day.
Around 1pm one of the workers named Maria De La Luz; started to feel sick Santos Ramon (2 nd) went to see if she was ok. When around 2:00 My mother Celia Roque started to cough when I heard her and I asked if she was feeling bad she didn`t respond .I immediately went to see if she was ok, but she was feeling weak and wanted to pass out, Three workers and I took my mother out of the vineyards to get help. At that moment I asked Seene (Supervisor) to call an ambulance and he did .When the ambulance arrived they took my mother, Celia Roque to Porterville Hospital emergency. I accompanied her. My mother, was not seen right away I remember my mother saying that she was having problems breathing and was dizzy and had a headache. The nurse finally gave my mother an injection and a respirator mask to help her with her breathing. She was send home around 6:00 pm that same day, but later that day abound 8:00 pm she started to feel the same symptoms We took her to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield where she was not treated an till 1:30 am in the morning after drawing her blood and took some x-rays of her chest they sent her back home at 6:30 am.
At 11:00 am Mario a supervisor for Guimarra went to our home to take my mother to the company’s doctor. After the company doctor examined my mother he said that it seemed to be a vaginal infection. He didn’t give her any medicine so I asked if he could give her something for the pain and he gave her Motrin .He said that after he received the lab work he would know if she had a vaginal infection and he sent her home. The company doctor gave my mother another appointment so that he can tell her what the lab test result were. When my mother went to her next appointment he told her that she was ok, that the lab tests were good that she could go home and back to work that if she was feeling sick that she could go see another doctor but that she would be responsible for the bills.
My mother has not been feeling good ever since the incident he does not eat right. She still feels very weak can’t walk much. I hope that by being represented by the U.F.W she will get fare treatment since the company is trying to make it seem that it was a personal matter that is causing her to feel this way.
I began to work with the Company Charles Krug Mondavi on September 5, 1973. I now have 33 years serving this Company as a Equipment Operator and doing general labor.
When I began working at this Company, the treatment I received was harsh, discriminatory, and I received a lot of pressure from the Supervisors. The Supervisors demanded a lot of work and in return they gave us bad treatment.
These injustices made us workers want to organize ourselves and want representation from Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers in 1975.
After the election in 1975, the Company fought hard against us, negating itself to negotiate a contract with the United Farm Workers. For these reasons, we did not win our first contract until 1981, six years after winning the election. During this time, the Company discharged many workers as a form of retaliation to the results of our election in 1975.
In 1991, the third contract that we had signed with Charles Krug Mondavi expired and the Company refused to re-negotiate the next contract. We fought for 8 years without a contract. During this period, the Company focused on discharging many of the workers with higher seniority. I noticed that the Supervisors of the Company enjoyed the fact that these types of workers were being discharged and that they used this as a way to intimidate us older workers. This is similar to what is occurring right now in the Company.
The Company via its Supervisors is demanding large amounts of work from us workers, where on occasions this pressure prevents ourselves from going to drink water, going to the restroom and this because in order to comply with the standards of production that the Company is asking of us. I think that the Company is doing this with the intention that we will quit our jobs. This way the Company can replace us with a younger work force. This is where I feel insulted and discriminated by the Company against us workers who have given a great number of years of service and best years of our life to this Company. It is very clear that the Company wants workers that will last longer than us.
I am a member of the Negotiating Committee and I have participated in the only three meetings to which the Company has called us to meet to re-negotiate the contract that expired on December 31, 2005. What I have seen in these meetings is that the Company is solely looking after their personal interests and is not seeing the necessities nor the interests of the workers. One of the issues that the Company is proposing in the Negotiations is that the workers receive periodic physical capacity exams every three months.
I feel frustrated and angry at the Company, for their wanting to take severe decisions including termination if we do not pass such physical capacity exams. This after having turned over 33 years of my life and service to the Company and now the Company wants to compensate me by kicking me out into the street.
On November 7, 2005 we had our last negotiation meeting and the Company has not contacted us to resume negotiations nor have they responded to our last proposal that was submitted to them on this day. It is very clear that the Company wants to do the same that was done to us in 1991 but now even more shameless because the Company wants to throw me and my co-workers out onto the street. In every one of these meetings, I have seen the bad faith to which the management at Charles Krug Mondavi has acted with.
I as a worker will continue to fight so that the Company does not discriminate against us because of our age and I will continue to aid my co-workers so that together we can protect the interests of ourselves and that of our families.
I declare under the penalty of perjury and under the laws of the state of California that the aforementioned is correct and true. Executed on May 30, 2006 in the City of Napa, CA in the County of Napa, CA.
In 1977 I began working as general labor worker before having been given the opportunity to be classified as an Equipment Operator in 2003. Currently I have been working for 29 years with the Company Charles Krug Mondavi.
During my time working with the Company, I have seen that the Company has always wanted to fight against the organization of the workers. The largest period of time in which the Company attempted to get rid of our Union was during the 1990’s when we went 8 years without a contract.
It wasn’t until Marc Mondavi, one of the proprietors and sons of the owner Peter Mondavi, Sr. during a vigil in front of the winery organized by myself and my co-workers to pressure the Company to sign a just contract, shoved one of my co-workers towards the highway, tore up some of our flags and banners that forced the Company to feel obligated to have to sign a contract with our United Farm Workers in order to wipe its hands clean of these actions of bad faith against us workers.
Presently, the Company continues with this same mentality of attempting to hurt the workers. I feel the Company has always been searching for ways on how to take out our Union, which took us 6 years from the date of our election in 1975, for us reach our first contract with the Company in 1981.
Now, I think the Company is attempting to get rid of us because of our age. I think the Company has seen the leadership that us older workers carry. Those of us who have given the most and best number of years of service to the Company have been able to guide and instruct our co-workers on how to protect and advocate their labor rights. In other words, the Company has seen that they have not been able to break our unity, now they want to breaks us using our age.
Besides the fact that I think that the Company thinks that because of my age that I can no longer work and produce as a younger worker, the Company simply wants to do away with our Union that has represented us and fought for our benefits. The Company wants to implement a younger work force, that will carry lower wages, no benefits, and will hold a lesser amount of knowledge of their labor rights to which they will in effect be making themselves vulnerable to the requests and demands of the Company.
I declare under the penalty of perjury and under the laws of the State of California that the aforementioned is correct and true. Executed on May 30, 2006 in the City of Napa, CA in the County of Napa, CA.