Collective bargaining is, in our view, the most effective and lasting way to improve farmworker conditions because it redresses the power imbalance between growers and workers, and because it establishes respect, fairness and dignity as the bases for the employment relationship.
Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated by a committee of workers elected by their peers at the farm, assisted by PCUN staff. The agreement is ratified by a vote of the workers and by the PCUN board of directors.
Key components of our collective agreements include:
- A simple and expeditious procedure to submit and resolve grievances
- Seniority rights in lay-off, recall and promotion
- Prohibition against retaliation and against discipline or discharge without just cause
- Guaranteed paid rest breaks (since 2004, also a state rule) and overtime pay
- Workers’ right to refuse to work in conditions they regard as unsafe or hazardous
- Paid and unpaid holidays and leaves of absence, including bereavement leave
- Workers’ right to information about chemical used in the workplace
- Union recognition.
None of these protections or procedures is presently provided by law.