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Tulip workers unionize with FUJ, bargain with Washington Bulb

The following is from Community 2 Community:

(March 28, 2022) — On Thursday, March 24, an overwhelming majority of tulip harvesters at RoozenGaarde Tulips voted to join Familias Unidas por la Justicia and asked them to represent them in the first negotiations meeting Friday morning at 10 a.m.

After three days of strikes, the majority of the farm workers at Roozengaarde have agreed to pause their strike in good faith to meet with management at the company’s main headquarters. The workers also voted to unionize with Familias Unidas por la Justicia (Families United for Justice) with 93 workers voting to join the union. Washington State Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow) conducted a count of the signed union membership cards as a neutral party.

TAKE A STAND — Please call Washington Bulb/RoozenGarde and thank them for respecting their workers and bargaining in good faith 360-424-5533.

“We are optimistic that we can reach an agreement that will give us a voice to create just working conditions and address the demands we presented to management through good faith negotiations,” said Alfredo Juarez, a RoozenGaarde worker and strike leader.

The workers initially walked out on Tuesday, March 22 after an angry exchange with a supervisor about an irregularity in their pay. They called the union Familias Unidas por la Justicia to demand changes on a host of other grievances including low pay, unfair firings and treatment, lack of adequate PPE for working with harsh chemicals, lack of breaks and more.

Some of the workers have been planting bulbs, cutting the stemmed blossoms and harvesting the bulbs for more than 10 years at Washington Bulb to help make the Tulip Festival successful. They shared stories of working long hours in the deep mud in cold and wet winter conditions to make the beautiful spring tulip bloom possible.

“We want to be treated with respect for our work and recognized as human beings with families that should be earning a wage where we can live with dignity,” said Juarez. “The Tulip Festival should not be just about the flowers.”

With the famous Skagit Tulip Festival less than a week away the workers are hopeful that they can reach a fair agreement with management and the public can have confidence that the workers who create the beautiful tulip vistas they come to enjoy have just working conditions and fair wages.

On Friday, the elected Committee and their Union Representatives, Ramon Torres and Edgar Franks, met with Washington Bulb management and began discussions on the list of demands.

The Committee reported that there was good progress made because of the good faith Washington Bulb Management brought to the table. Discussions will continue Monday and the strike remains suspended.

Familias Unidas por la Justicia and the elected committee at Washington Bulb’s Roozengaarde would like to thank all the community support received from supporters state wide and even from other states.

“This is a good beginning,” Said Ramon Torres, President of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, “We will keep our supporters updated on our Facebook page.”

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!