Donald Dressler has announced the formation of the Farm Labor Contractor Alliance. The Alliance is an independent organization of labor contractors who provide the labor to grow and harvest over one half of California's agricultural commodities. This is the first statewide organization formed by and led by farm labor contractors.
The goal of the Alliance is to provide direction on organizational structure, legislative representation, educational services, public relations advocacy, business guidelines, and group buying programs. Initially organized by Dressler, a counselor and attorney-at-law, Betsy Shea of Shea-Campbell Inc. (public relations), and Ray Sullivan of Sullivan Safety Services, the target association membership is 100 new members in 2004 and an additional 100 members in 2005.
“We are very excited.” Dressler states. “It is our intent to give farm labor contractors a unified voice and a much stronger representation in the industry. There are numerous challenges to overcome, including workmen's compensation, healthcare, and pubic perception.”
For the past year, the group has tested the waters through distribution of a bilingual newsletter, Labor Contractors News, and organized meetings. “The response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic because the information is so pertinent and useful,” says Shea.
Growers and shippers of fresh produce, wine grapes, and other commodities have declined to support the general purpose farm organization. “Farm labor contractors need to establish their credibility and integrity as businesses who provide a worthwhile and essential service.” Dressler comments. “The truth is that without them, the whole produce distribution chain would collapse.
“We envision the Farm Labor Contractor Alliance as being a valuable and unique resource for a critical part of California agriculture, helping the labor contractors achieve full compliance with safety, wage and hour, and other employment laws, and to be recognized as a vital contributing part of the farm industry,” states Dressler.
The Farm Labor Contractor Alliance will be based in Bakersfield, Calif. A meeting will be held in the near future to confirm the organizational structure. Interested persons may contact Don Dressler at (949) 533-3742 or at [email protected].