Through a translator Guadalupe Martinez told us she and others had not been called back to work after seasonal layoffs because of their support for the union. "They are actually discriminating the ones that support the union she was on a negotiating committee and she was one of them that didn't return their job back."
Gerawan and the UFW have been at odds since the company claimed the union no longer represented its workers. Gerawan employees who claim they did not want union representation staged protests this fall and voted to oust the union. However, there is a dispute over the legality of the election and the state Agricultural Labor Relations board has not counted the ballots.
In a written statement to Action News, company co-owner Dan Gerawan said, "We do not have a labor dispute. It's a situation where a union is trying to impose itself on the industry's highest paid workers… the union disappeared 20 years ago. Now that they've lost 90% of their membership they have come back to pick the pockets of the highest paid workers."
But, Guadalupe Martinez says most Gerawan workers support the UFW, and those that say they don't are just trying to keep their jobs. "Most of them say they don't support the union because are afraid."
An arbitrator has already ruled that Gerawan must honor the UFW contract, but the company filed an appeal last week and it will be heard in court in the coming year.