Workers at Ace Tomato are tired of waiting. They are tired of dirty bathrooms, the lack of fresh water and decades of low pay. You might ask, why don't they vote for a union? They did--back in 1989! But, more than two decades later they still are waiting for their contract. And the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), California's legal agency charged with protecting the workers, did nothing but shuffle paperwork.
The UFW fought for and passed a law in California requiring employers to negotiate in good faith or face mandatory mediation. The way this works is a mediator speaks to both sides and neutrally sifts through both sides' documents and recommendations and at the end submits a report of terms to the ALRB which is essentially a contract. Both sides have the right to review this report and object. Then the ALRB either agrees with the objections to the report or rejects them. If they reject the objections, the report becomes a contract that both sides must legally abide by.
After several months of discussion, the mediator submitted his report to the ALRB on June 28. As expected, the company objected, but on July 25 the ALRB ruled against the company and ordered Ace Tomato to implement the final mediator's report as the contract.
It appears the company instead decided to follow their normal delaying tactics that have worked so well. They ignored the Board order!
When we heard the wage increases and other improvements were not happening, we asked the ALRB to go to court to force the company to follow the law and implement the contract the workers have been waiting more than 20 years for.
The ALRB could have and should have immediately gone to court when the company thumbed their nose at the law. Instead they sent the company a letter saying they would give them until 5 pm today, Tuesday, August 7th, to respond to the UFW’s request.
The workers are furious that the ALRB is again opening the door to the company's delaying tactics. Workers know from experience that given an inch, this company can keep up the delaying tactics for years.
Ace Tomato workers will travel to Sacramento tomorrow and hold a picket line in front of the ALRB's office demanding that the ALRB get a court order to tell the company to immediately comply with the law. Won't you join Ace Tomato workers and picket virtually by taking action and e-mailing the ALRB today?