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UFW & Ace Tomato Co. reach $1M settlement for workers

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POSTED September 17, 2013 3:21 a.m.

FRENCH CAMP – The General Counsel of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (“ALRB”), the United Farm Workers of America (“UFW”), and Ace Tomato Company, Inc. (“Ace”) reached a $1.05 million global settlement agreement this week, ending nearly 20 years of litigation.  The settlement resolves more than a dozen cases pending before the ALRB and in California’s courts. 

“It’s a historic settlement that will benefit farm workers and their families. Ace Tomato employees went on strike and  voted to be represented by the UFW more than 20 years ago, but unfortunately many of them were not able to reap the benefits of a union contract, but at least they will benefit from this monetary award,” said UFW National Vice President Armando Elenes.

The agreement resolves a charge of a 1993 failure to bargain in good faith, as well as several others charges dating from 2012 that include the company’s refusal to implement a collective bargaining agreement ordered by the ALRB. After extensive litigation for the past few years and a legislative oversight committee regarding why the labor board had delayed so long in moving this case forward, the parties entered into settlement discussions and reached an agreement that will benefit Ace’s agricultural employees while improving services and opportunities for the children of farm workers in San Joaquin County and California.

The agreement is subject to approval by the Board of the ALRB.  The ALRB General Counsel and UFW will engage in a broad outreach project to identify workers who are entitled to a share of the settlement funds.

“Today, we congratulate ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillén in her commitment to resolving this longstanding violation of the law. Workers at Ace Tomato have waited almost 20 years for the State of California to follow through on enforcing the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. Despite significant grower opposition and a three-member ALRB Board that wanted to close this case, Ace workers and the UFW fought to make sure blatant violations of the law would not go unchecked. We are hopeful that this long overdue resolution  will benefit the workers who sacrificed so much for union representation,” said Mario Martinez, UFW’s General Counsel.

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