Sunday, May 14, 2006


The following is from the United Farm Workers.

Help floral workers fight for their rights on Mother's Day

Central Coast floral workers need your help. As you buy flowers this Mother’s Day, please also send your e-mail today to Raleys/Nob Hill supermarkets that are major retailers sellers of flowers from Monterey Bay Bouquet in Aromas, CA.

In late March, more than 100 workers at Monterey Bay Bouquet—mainly women, many who worked for the company for more than 15 years—were fired and replaced with workers supplied by farm labor contractors. The company paid the labor contractor workers less money and provided no benefits.

According to the workers, the company’s reason for firing them was because their legal documentation. Yet the workers who replaced them were 100 percent undocumented. The fired workers came to the United Farm Workers and after two and a half weeks of picket lines and delegations, the company rehired the workers and gave them retroactive pay. Still, the workers don’t feel secure and desperately want the protections of a UFW contract.

A union election that was set at the company has been postponed because of intimidation of workers by the employer.

Listen to just two stories from workers at Monterey Bay Bouquet:

Gabriela Lara: The company hired a labor consultant who intimidated us. The consultant threatened us by telling us that if we put the union in, they were not going to give us our employment records to show that we worked there and not [provide] proof to INS of our time here in the USA. They also told us that the union was going to take $80,000 from the company and then they were going to be forced to go out of business...There was so much pressure that before the election date we decided to withdraw from the election.

Maria Patricia Barrera: They told us that the union was going to take all our money in dues, that they would never come around to represent us and also that the company was going to go out of business because they would not be able to afford us...We had so much pressure and tension that as I am writing this my stomach still feels ill...The company still has the labor contractor workers here; which makes me insecure of my job. That is why we are still with the Union asking them to help us. PLEASE HELP...

Please send your e-mail to Raleys/Nob Hill supermarkets today. Ask the company whether it wants to be linked with Monterey Bay Bouquet’s unscrupulous behavior. Tell Raleys/Nob Hill it should take the responsible stand and stop buying these flowers unless Monterey Bay Bouquet follows the law and allows a free and fair election without threats or intimidation.

To take action go to:

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