( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Giumarra Vineyards, the world’s largest table grape company, harvests approximately 1 out of every 10 bunches of grapes picked in the US. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just filed suit against Giumarra Vineyards for allegedly violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid:
According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC v. Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, et al, Case No. 1:09-cv-02255), the young woman “was subjected to sexual advances, sexually inappropriate touching and abusive and offensive sexual comments about the male sex organ by a male co-worker.” The EEOC further alleged that after witnessing the sexual harassment, farm workers came to the aid of the teenage victim and complained to Giumarra Vineyards.
So the company fired the woman who was harrassed!
One day after reporting the incident, the victim and people who helped her were fired. The EEOC suit states they “were summarily discharged in retaliation for their opposition to the sexual harassment.” (More details in the EEOC’s press release.)
The United Farm Workers has started a petition. Dolores Huerta, who is the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW), will be leading a women’s delegation to hand the petition in on Monday Feb 15. The UFW already have more than 7,000 signatures.
I am astonished and dismayed at Giumarra’s disregard of the law. This is not medieval times. In the 21st century workers have the right to speak up to protect themselves and others. Giumarra is not above the law. It is astonishing that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was forced to file suit against Giumarra Vineyards for violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid.
As the world’s largest table grape company, your behavior helps set the industry standard. You should be ashamed of the example you are setting both in this case with the sexual harassment and retaliation and with your dismal history of worker protection. This behavior reflects negatively on your company and your Nature’s Partner label.
It’s time for your company to realize that you are not above the law. Stop the sexual harassment and retaliation for field workers who speak up or support the UFW. Your consumers are watching.
Please sign the Petition and help the women in the fields.
Giumarra Vineyards’ workers have been waging a long-running battle to get their mega-company to stop disregarding the law. They want to be protected from abuses like sexual harassment. You can help these workers fight back.
As you know, last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Giumarra. The suit alleges that a teenage girl was repeatedly sexually harassed by a co-worker, who told her day after day, in graphic detail, what he wanted to do to her. He repeatedly touched her inappropriately. Finally, when he wouldn’t stop, the girl reported the abuse to her supervisor. Instead of dealing with the situation, Giumarra fired this young girl. They also fired two of her relatives and a friend who stood up for her by complaining to management.
I wish I could say this was a rare instance of company disregard. It isn’t. We’ve helped workers file numerous reports of dangerous working conditions with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). Among the charges, workers claimed the company even disregarded safety regulations about spraying pesticides near them in the fields–sometimes less than 60 feet away.
Of course, if you were to ask the public relations department of the world largest grape grower about its abuse of workers, they’ll tell you it’s just a few workers, and a couple of misunderstandings. They’ll say they want their workers to be happy, safe, and healthy.”We even offer our employees health insurance,” they’ll point out.
Don’t believe a word of it. Giumarra’s health insurance is just a public relations sham. Fifteen year employee Angelina Jimenez knows the truth: “The current medical plan is worthless. It barely covers a Tylenol. Often times the medical plan covers only 10% of the cost of a doctor’s visit.”
Sadly, Giumarra’s stinginess worsened a tragedy for Jesus Pena. Jesus has worked at Giumarra for 37 years and is still at minimum wage–$8.00/hr. Jesus and his wife recently had a new baby. They thought their health insurance would cover the delivery charges, and certainly would cover the cost of any health problems the baby might have.
They were wrong. The insurance did not cover delivery, and when their baby developed lung problems, and specialists were called in, it did not cover that, either. Still, it’s no surprise Jesus and his wife did everything they could for their baby boy. Unfortunately, their hopes were shattered. “The saddest part, is that at seven months of age, our baby died as a result of his illness. It has been two years since our baby’s death and we continue to receive bills for his care.”
Giumarra is an incredibly heartless employer. This is why it’s so important that we stand with their workers and help them fight back against the company’s abuse. Besides helping Giumarra’s workers file charges to right wrongs against them, we are also helping the workers move towards union representation. Your donation can help us achieve these goals
Contribute if you can here: Something else you can do to help the workers at Giumarra
Si Se Peude!
Also in Orange: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…