Breaking the law doesn’t seem to bother Gerawan, one of the nation’s largest fruit growers, who markets under the Prima label. Gerawan has committed a litany of violations against their workers, who are fighting hard for their contract. Included in this laundry list of violations is what we charged to be the illegal action Gerawan took to change the health plan they offered workers, without bargaining with the union over these changes. The UFW filed charges with the ALRB in January 2015 about this. We have been pushing for a response practically every time we’ve talked to the ALRB since then--including as recently as April 2017. So far, no action has been taken.
The law is very clear. Despite Gerawan workers still being without a contract because the company is resisting implementing the contract through various delay tactics, the UFW is the workers’ certified union. Gerawan is NOT legally allowed to make unilateral changes in the workers’ pay or benefits without negotiating or advising the UFW.
But as usual, Gerawan seems to think the law does not apply to them. Under Gerawan’s prior plan, only Gerawan workers who were employed close to a year-round basis qualified, leaving few with access to this option. And of those who qualified, even fewer opted in, as they were expected to pay nearly $500 a month for family coverage as well as have a $1,500/$3,000 deductible (individual/family). This was way beyond the means of these workers.
Only 13 of the more than 5,000 workers had health coverage under the previous plan.
Then, Gerawan unilaterally changed the workers’ health plan from bad to something way, way worse back in December of 2014. If workers want insurance, they have to pay more than $825 a month for the family plan PLUS a $5,000/$10,000 per year deductible (individual/family). If workers were not able to afford the previous plan for their families, how does Gerawan think they could afford this?!
Gerawan did not have to go with this option. During negotiations, the UFW offered them a medical plan with a low $5 deductible covering up to 80% of the workers’ health care costs—and it would cost the company almost $400 less per worker for family coverage.
Two years is too long for the ALRB to make workers wait for a ruling on Gerawan’s conduct that makes health care even less affordable for working families. The ALRB must act. Send your e-mail today.
May 3, 2017