Resources being offered for Prima Wawona employees as layoffs near

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Resources being offered for Prima Wawona employees as layoffs near
Two Valley lawmakers are offering resources and support for employees who will be impacted by the Prima Wawona closure.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two Valley lawmakers are offering resources and support for employees who the Prima Wawona closure will impact.

The local produce company filed for bankruptcy back in October, then sent notices to workers about massive layoffs that could start March 12.

Monday morning, Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula and Senator Anna Caballero hosted a town hall in partnership with Proteus Incorporated.

They went over resources and services for impacted workers, including assistance with unemployment applications, career counseling, job training and access to food and housing.

The stone fruits company with a decades-long history in Central California declared bankruptcy in October of last year.

"Receiving a layoff notice is almost always a stressful situation; our hearts go out to the workers and their families that have been affected," said Alice Berliner from the UC Merced Community and Labor Center.

5,400 employees with Prima Wawona will find out soon whether they will be out of a job.

Prima Wawona was once one of the largest growers of peaches, plums, and nectarines in the nation.

In January of this year, the agricultural and fruit-growing and packing company sent out a letter to its employees, stating people could be out of a job as early as March 12th.

While Prima Wawona employees more than 5,000 people directly, it's layoffs could impact as many as 10,000 people who work indirectly for the company as farm labor contractors.

Now, local law makers are taking action to offer resources for people impacted.

"As a representative, we feel responsible to make sure we are making government work for a community like ours. I look forward to making sure that our office is available to all of the workers in the Central Valley that were affected due to these layoffs," said


During the town hall, Arambula and Caballero addressed the dozens who could need unemployment resources in the coming weeks.

They also announced the $7 million was awarded to La Cooperativa Campesina de California a nonprofit, who is partnering with Proteus, to help farmworkers who are set to lose their jobs.

That money will go towards rental relief, and help finding new jobs for laid off workers.

"We know that residents across Fresno, Tulare and Kings County are potentially impacted. We want to be here and make sure there are the resources you need to get back on your feet if you are displaced," said Caballero.

Proteus, UC Merced, and the California Employment Development Department also attended Monday's meeting.

They emphasized that help is available for those who may not qualify for unemployment.

Arambula and Caballero are also opening their office doors and serving as a resource center for anyone that is impacted regardless of where they live.

Resources for Wawona employees impacted by the layoffs:

La Cooperativa Campesina de California

You can contact La Cooperativa Campesina de California by phone at (916) 388-2220, email at or in person at 1107 9th Street, Suite 420, Sacramento.


You can reach Proteus by calling (888) 776-9998 or by emailing

Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula

To contact Assemblymember Arambula, reach out to Felicia Matlosz at (559) 304-9286 or by email at

Senator Anna Caballero

To contact Senator Caballero, reach out to Elisa Rivera at (559) 264-3070 or

UC Merced

Resources at UC Merced can be found by calling (559) 697-5956.

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