Rancho Laguna Farms Update
Thank you for reaching out to us and expressing your concerns for the farmworker community, and the issues that had developed with one of our independent growers, Rancho Laguna Farms in Santa Maria, California. We were in contact with all parties involved including the grower, the farmworkers, the advocacy group CAUSE and local government representation. We listened to everyone’s concerns directly, so that we could better understand all circumstances involved. Our understanding is that as of early June, Rancho Laguna Farms and their workforce are aligned with resolutions to any issues that were flagged.
The owner of Rancho Laguna Farms has provided a public statement that is available below.
Driscoll’s is aware that a complaint was filed by CAUSE against Rancho Laguna Farms with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board was created in 1975 to ensure peace in the fields of California and seeks to achieve these ends by providing orderly processes for protecting the respective rights of farm employees and labor organizations. The landmark law set clear procedures to follow. We fully support this process and await the board’s resolution of this matter. Driscoll’s Labor Standards, which apply to all of our independent growers, require the right to collective action be respected without interference or reprisal.
In the Rancho Laguna Farms dispute, the employer and the employees had disagreed about the level of wages. To our knowledge, the employed farmworkers did not claim their wages violated California law. As well, a complaint alleging wage violations was not filed with the state or court. Since early June, the matter with Rancho Laguna Farms and its employees has been resolved. We were pleased the parties worked together for a mutually beneficial outcome. During this process, Driscoll’s had limited involvement regarding the wage discussions as that would have interfered with the operations of the separate and independent business of Rancho Laguna Farms.
Driscoll’s is always fully committed to protecting the health and safety of those who work across our broader enterprise, including the harvesters employed by our independent growers. In addition to the wage dispute, the employees of Rancho Laguna Farms and their representatives had requested a review of their working conditions that speak to their health and safety. As the public statement from Rancho Laguna Farms indicated, Driscoll’s swiftly followed-up on these concerns and will continue to monitor Rancho Laguna Farms’ progress in this area and ensure all commitments are fully implemented.
As a family-owned company with historical roots in California, Driscoll’s values the relationship we have with the communities that grow our berries. Driscoll’s has a long-standing history in the Santa Maria community and we know this is a challenging time for farmers and farmworkers during COVID-19. We are doing our best to live our values and we consider everyone to be a part of One Family, all rooted in the communities where we work and grow; this is core to who we are.