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by Jake Sexton
Monday, Sep. 03, 2001 at 3:58 AM
Hundreds attended a rally Sept 1 supporting the efforts of farm workers employed by the Pictsweet company as they attempt to negotiate a union contract.
I hestitate slightly to turn in this report at all; due to heavy traffic, I arrived so late that I missed most of the rally. But as no one has posted any news about this on the site, I figure a little coverage is better than none. The following is a transcript of the brief report I called in for Kill Radio.
I'm in Ventura, CA, at the Olivas Adobe Historical Park. To the east of me are vast tracts of agricultural land. To the west of me is an exclusive country club and golf course. And to the south is a farm owned by the Pictsweet company.
And that's why we were all there. Around 300 workers from the Pictsweet mushroom company are trying to negotiate a union contract with their employers. But management refuses to even meet with them. Pictsweet thinks that the low wages and shoddy benefits they give their workers are satisfactory. The 300+ people who marched and assembled in Ventura today disagree.
It was a diverse crowd: workers, union leaders, relgious organizations, and even local politicians. Many were clad in the red and black colors that represent the UFW farmworkers' union.
Until Pictsweet agress to a fair contract, the workers have called for a boycott of all Pictsweet mushrooms. Most major supermarket chains have complied with the boycott, but one major company still buys from Pictsweet: Pizza Hut. Speakers at the rally called for talks with local Pizza Hut managers, to convince them to comply with the boycott as well.
The participants feel that today's demonstration was a great success, and predict that it is the beginning of a larger union presence in Ventura County, and the rest of California.
I attempted to find a press release from Pictsweet to get their take on the situation, but my internet searches turned up nothing, not even a Pictsweet corporate homepage.
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