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Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

More than 200 Santa Maria farmworkers receive settlement checks after facing alleged retaliation while calling for higher wages

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Agricultural Labor Relations Board
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Agricultural Labor Relations Board
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Agricultural Labor Relations Board
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Agricultural Labor Relations Board
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Agricultural Labor Relations Board

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) distributed nearly $30,000 in checks to 212 farmworkers in Santa Maria on Sunday as part of a settlement agreement.

ALRB handed out the checks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CAUSE Office on Jones Street, Santa Maria.

This was done in agreement with Rancho Laguna Farms.

On May 4, 2020, Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) filed an unfair labor practice charge with the ALRB on behalf of workers at Rancho Laguna.

The charge alleged that Rancho Laguna unlawfully fired workers after they temporarily stopped work in an effort to increase their wages. The charge also alleged that Rancho Laguna threatened to call immigration officials and called law enforcement out to the fields to retaliate against the workers, thereby interfering with their right to come together to seek improved working conditions.

The settlement agreement reached requires Rancho Laguna to compensate workers for any potential financial losses resulting from the alleged retaliation.

Rancho Laguna also agreed to provide their current agricultural employees with information about the settlement and information about their rights under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (Act).

Finally, Rancho Laguna also agreed that the ALRB will provide training to its supervisors on farmworkers’ rights under the Act.

California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act says, “it is the policy of the State of California to encourage and protect the right of agricultural employees to full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment, and to be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”

ALRB has field offices in Oxnard, Visalia, Salinas, Indio and Santa Rosa.

Anyone interested in accessing ALRB services may call the Oxnard office number at 805-988-3850, or a statewide toll-free phone number at 800-449-3699. 

More information can be found online at www.alrb.ca.gov.


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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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