About 1,800 Wonderful Company farm workers ended their four-day strike over pay cuts Monday afternoon after Wonderful agreed to restore pay cuts amounting to $1 to $2 an hour that were imposed on workers last week, according to the UFW.
Workers say they still have other grievances to resolve, but will return to their jobs for now.
“Farm workers were upset about the pay cut unilaterally imposed by the Wonderful Company farm labor contractor,” said United Farm Workers Secretary-Treasurer Armando Elenes in a press release. “Workers asked the United Farm Workers for help and after four days on strike they decided to go back to work after the company agreed to restore their previous higher pay rate.”
“This is another example of how when farm workers organize together to defend themselves, we win,” Elenes continued.
Farm workers at Wonderful Company orchards in Kern County began to strike last week after the company reduced bin rates, according to the UFW. Workers said the Wonderful Company reduced bin rates (piece rates paid for harvesting citrus) last week by $5 a bin, from $53 to $48, according to a news release.
Strikers gathered Monday morning at the company packing facility south of Delano. UFW President Teresa Romero and Elenes joined the strikers.
Wonderful announced last month it is raising minimum wage for full-time farm workers to $15 an hour beginning Jan. 1.
“Our dedicated and hard-working employees are our greatest asset and the reason for our tremendous success as a company,” Stewart Resnick, chairman and president of the Wonderful Company, said in the Packer industry publication on Dec. 20, 2018 while announcing the $15 an hour minimum wage. “This move firmly positions The Wonderful Company as the employer of choice in California’s Central Valley.”
The $15 an hour minimum wage appears to apply to workers who are directly hired by the grower, according to the UFW.