April 15, 2022

Santa Maria Strawberry Workers Go on Strike

Western Growers has also been advised that workers at Santa Maria-based Manzanita Berry Farms stopped work on April 9. The company and the workers reportedly reached an agreement on an increased piece-rate for strawberry production.

Then, according to the Santa Maria Times, approximately 50 workers from Acquistapace Farms in Santa Maria stopped working in the strawberry fields on Monday, April 11, seeking higher wages.

The workers at Acquistapace are seeking an increase from their current piece rate of $2.10 per box to $3.50 per box. They are also asking for double pay for working in the rain and on federal holidays. The workers reportedly returned to work the next day at the same rate. It is unknown whether the company and the workers reached a deal.

Both work stoppages were organized by Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), an Oxnard and Santa Maria-based “worker center” (i.e., not a traditional labor union) focused on assisting Mexican Indigenous migrants. Notably, UFW, which has virtually withdrawn from labor organizing activities in recent years, was not involved in the work stoppage.

For guidance on what to do in the event of a work stoppage or labor dispute, contact Western Growers.