As you can see from the letter from the UFW to agricultural employers available here that went out Statewide and through the legislature, the UFW wants to collectively bargain for the entire industry it has never been able to organize. On top of that, we now see the grocery workers through the UFCW have been given a $2.00 raise. See article here.
In terms of what to expect, we have no playbook for this one, not for pandemics and not for the supply chain demands that will be placed upon the Industry, and not from the demands the Industry may face from employees. We had complete walkouts a few years ago in Salinas with the arrival of H-2A workers earning the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (“AEWR”) resulted in a wage inversion, paying field workers more than the secondary operations employees. So let’s get prepared.
First, in the field remember we have an access regulation (access cheat sheet here)—(unwanted guests cheat sheet here). Remember to get this cheat sheet out to your supervisors and have them trained up on the basics of access. Let us know if our team can be of assistance. Next for both primary Ag and secondary operations: be prepared for work stoppages (Work Stoppages cheat sheet here). We advise training up supervisors on this topic as well. Getting ahead of these situation and having clarity in your communications with workers will absolutely win the day.
As always, The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated, is here to assist. Please contact us if you have further questions or concerns regarding your operation and the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).