The settlement, which is not final, avoids paying a potential $2 million court judgment.
The step is important because it shows that the iconic UFW can no longer act with impunity. It also reveals that the UFW leadership has been so irresponsible with its stewardship of members’ dues, that the union risks bankruptcy if it proceeds further.
Geoffrey Mohan of the Los Angeles Times has the story.
“The United Farm Workers union has settled a long-running lawsuit with its former field organizers, agreeing to pay $1.3 million in back wages, penalties and attorney fees,” Mohan reports.
The plaintiff in the case, former UFW employee Francisco Cerritos, “was fired from the UFW in 2013, shortly after organizing a UFW employee union, La Union Es Para Todos (The Union is for Everyone),” according to the report.
The UFW abused its organizers, according to the suit, and cheated them out of their time and money. “The suit alleged that the UFW regularly required Cerritos and 23 other organizers to work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours per week, did not provide meal periods after five hours of work and regularly issued pay stubs that did not specify the hours worked,” the Times reports.
UFW has very little money
For such an established union, the UFW has very little to show for five decades of work. It has a paltry $882,119 cash on hand, and only $1.4 million in investments, plus about $1.1 million in other assets, the Times reports, citing the US Department of Labor records.
The UFW has no strike fund to support its workers who need to go on strike. It has no fund for to cushion dues-paying members who lose their jobs.
However, the UFW pays more than $3,000,000 a year to its own employees and leaders, according to UnionFacts.com.