Last week, the UFW signed a breakthrough union contract with D’Arrigo Brothers which produces the Andy Boy label. What is unique about this agreement is both D’Arrigo and the UFW have pledged to reduce conflict and open a new relationship where management and union work collaboratively to help each other more effectively compete. This is especially exciting as this comes at a time when the industry is confronting labor shortages and both sides are frustrated by bickering and inaction over immigration reform by policymakers in the nation’s capital.
More than 1,500 UFW members at D’Arrigo — 1,200 of them in the Salinas Valley — will receive significant hourly and productivity pay hikes which will make them among the highest paid vegetable workers in California. In addition, they have the best family medical, dental and vision benefits for farm workers in the state — 100% of the premium is covered by the company — plus six paid holidays a year and other contract improvements.
D’Arrigo Bros. gains a competitive advantage by continuing to attract and maintain a better compensated, more experienced and professional workforce with higher morale and productivity. This means a higher quality product for consumers. John D’Arrigoshared, “It is a historic contract because we’re making a huge investment in our workforce showing them how much they matter to us. To do that we got to make a really attractive package…We’re competing for a really limited pool of agricultural workers today…We really have to protect the workers we got here and their families. It is difficult to do what an agricultural worker can do, to cut and pick that lettuce without damaging it. A lot of people don’t realize these are skilled labor jobs. People don’t think of it like that. They are doing us a real service how they handle the produce, take care of it. They are watching food safety issues out there, there’s a lot more to it to what people really think. So we really value them and we’re putting our money where our mouth is and telling them, we are going to invest on you.”
D’Arrigo workers are excited about the contract. Here is what some of them have to say:
Veronica Chavez tells us, “I am happy because for the first time we were invited to the company offices to sign the labor contract between D’Arrigo and UFW. I hope that we continue to move forward like this and all of the workers have the benefits we have always had and now with this new contract they have increased coverage of the medical insurance by 10%.” As a result, claims can be covered up to 90% instead of 80% when using preferred providers. The medical planhas an annual deductible of only $115 for the individual and $230 for the entire family; a co-pay of $15 for doctor visits. Veronica continues, “Also there is one added day to the paid holidays, which is Cesar Chavez Day, and a guaranteed piece rate for boxes. I recommend all of the various products, such as romaine lettuce, mixed lettuce, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, cactus, etc. I recommend all products of Andy Boy.”
Oswaldo Cisneros Martinez is also pleased. “I am very happy for this new contract between D’Arrigo and UFW for the benefit of us, the farm workers…We achieved a great victory thanks to the presidents of both parties by sitting down and speaking about the workers’ problems and for helping to unify the workers. I am very happy and I hope that when a person is at the supermarket, they choose the products of Andy Boy. That way we will have more economic stability. Buy Andy Boy products so that D’Arrigo Bros. and us workers keep growing.”
Everardo Ureta Quintero
adds, “Today is a very important day for me and my family and a historic day for all of us, the farm workers of the company D’Arrigo. A new contract was signed for another 3 years which has very good benefits. Among the many benefits … we have a healthcare plan that no other company has in the Salinas area — that covers my family and I.”
Valentina Dominguez shares, “I come from an area of Brawley from the department of rapini in the company D’Arrigo. I am very happy today because we have made many achievements … The company has agreed with the workers and the United Farm Workers. We decided to work together. The company is giving us a timely response to our requests… I am very happy with everything we achieved including signing our contract.”
Join us in celebrating this new contract by looking for D’Arrigo’s Andy Boy label when you go shopping. Let’s support the people who put food on our table.
Si Se Puede!!