LA Times treats UFW and UFW front as two separate groups

The Los Angeles Times is treating the UFW one of its front organizations as two separate groups.

In a January 12 story on produce standards in Mexico, the Times quoted UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson as a critic. That’s proper journalism.

But the Times then quoted someone from the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) as a separate authority – without disclosing that UFW VP Nicholson is Chairman of EFI.

That’s sloppy journalism. To put it kindly.

EFI says it’s to help develop cooperative relations between farmers and industry to ensure a wholesome and safe food production-to-retail system for everybody. But in reality it’s more of a front for politically active mega-discounters and for the UFW.

Because the UFW Vice President is also EFI Chairman, and UFW General Counsel Mario Martinez is on the EFI board, workers and producers out of favor with the UFW won’t get a fair shake.

UFW teams up with Big Industry . . .

The UFW looks more like an advocate of big industry that pumps cash into its cause, than an advocate of farmworkers.

Last October, we showed UFW President Arturo Rodriguez yukking it up with Big Tomato CEO Kevin Doran of Houweling’s, at an industry convention.

Through the EFI, the UFW has teamed up with mega discount retailers like Costco, and is believed to be getting kickbacks in exchange for giving its seal of approval.

. . . as it moves operations offshore, at expense of workers in America

The UFW has begun moving its worker organizing operations offshore, even as it neglects the people it counts as members here in America.

It’s literally using union members’ dues – equal to 3% of their pay – to organize workers in other countries.

Last summer, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta told The Progressive, “the UFW is taking action in Mexico, Central, and South America against miserable farm worker pay and conditions and is working to produce safer, higher quality food while improving wages and other protections.”

The UFW is organizing in Nicaragua among super low-paid workers, to boost their incomes to $7.50 a day – half of the anticipated hourly minimum wage in California. It calls $7.50 a day a “dignified wage” when the workers are offshore.

What we said about the Equitable Food Initiative

Last May, we said the EFI’s concept was a good idea that was being ruined by the crooked UFW.

“The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) sounds like a great idea – to ensure that farmworkers are right there to watch against food-borne diseases and other health issues as they harvest and pack produce. Part of that means treating the farmworkers well and not punishing them if they come forward with evidence of contaminated food,” we said.

"This requires a cooperative relationship between workers and their employers. So far, so good.

But the EFI falls apart because its leaders politicized the issue from the start. According to, board members who set EFI standards include the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.

That doesn’t make sense, because the UFW represents only 1% of farmworkers. Maybe even less. The other 99% of farmworkers are not represented on the EFI board.

And since the UFW’s business model is to stoke conflict and hostility between workers and their employers – often needlessly – the UFW ensures against worker-employer collaboration.

The EFI is also questionable because its board includes a representative from Costco Wholesale Corp. We don’t have confidence in Costco because the company has been pandering to the UFW.

EFI is going to certify farms that meet its UFW-approved standards. That means that EFI is likely to discriminate against farmworkers who don’t want to pay 3 percent of their income to the UFW."