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October 20, 1992 | JACK SEARLES
In October, 1987, the Pictsweet division of United Foods Inc. bought three mushroom farms out of bankruptcy, one of them a 50-acre operation on Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. The move saved 350 Ventura County jobs. This month, as United observes the fifth anniversary of its venture into mushrooms, 200 of those who worked on the Ventura farm in 1987 are still there. Overall employment remains at 350, though production is up considerably.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2004 | Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
Seven months after signing a contract that ended a bitter labor dispute, owners of Southern California's largest mushroom farm announced plans to shut down operations and sell the Ventura facility because of "adverse economic conditions." The impending closure of Pictsweet Mushroom Farm throws a cloud over the new three-year labor pact the firm reached with workers under a landmark state mediation law adopted in 2002 to resolve deadlocked farm labor negotiations.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2004 | Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
Rekindling a battle over unionization at Southern California's largest mushroom farm, a right-to-work group Tuesday accused the United Farm Workers union of illegally collecting dues and threatening workers at the plant. In charges filed with the state's farm labor board, the National Right to Work Foundation alleges that UFW officials intentionally misled workers at the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura by telling them they were required to pay full union dues as a condition of employment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2004 | Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
Rekindling a battle over unionization at Southern California's largest mushroom farm, a right-to-work group Tuesday accused the United Farm Workers union of illegally collecting dues and threatening workers at the plant. In charges filed with the state's farm labor board, the National Right to Work Foundation alleges that UFW officials intentionally misled workers at the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura by telling them they were required to pay full union dues as a condition of employment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2001
As one of the participants in the Pictsweet march, I resent the tone of the article Sept. 2. Pictsweet management was made out to be so benevolent that the workers had no reason to picket. A far more egregious error was that the author failed to mention the great number of church members (Methodist, Jewish, Catholic, Unitarian, Quaker, etc.) and Democrats from various clubs. He made it appear that the only marchers were from the unions and the Communist and Green parties. By the way, if there were any Communists there they certainly did not identify themselves with flags or placards.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 2001
The United Farm Workers on Thursday condemned calls by Pictsweet Mushroom Farms of Oxnard to hold an election to determine how many workers want UFW representation. "It is patently illegal what they are doing by peddling this," said Marc Grossman, UFW spokesman. But Pictsweet isn't taking sides, merely supporting the workers' right to hold an election, said Don Dresser, vice president for United Foods of Bells, Tenn., the owner of Pictsweet.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2001 | Times Staff Reports
State labor lawyers have accused operators of the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura of illegally firing a United Farm Worker's organizer at the plant. According to a complaint issued by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Fidel Andrade was fired in May for exercising his right to organize and support the union. Pictsweet and the UFW have been locked in a protracted labor dispute over wages and benefits.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2002 | FRED ALVAREZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A state labor board Wednesday upheld a judge's decision that the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura illegally fired a mushroom picker who was engaged in organizing activities for the United Farm Workers union. In a 27-page ruling, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board ordered Pictsweet to offer Fidel Andrade his job back and reimburse him for lost wages.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 30, 2001 | DAVID KELLY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State Sen. Gloria Romero will meet with PictSweet mushroom workers today to hear about conditions inside the Ventura farm, and the lawmaker said she may follow up with recommendations to the Senate Labor Committee. Romero (D-Los Angeles) said the meeting could lead to hearings and a full-scale investigation into working conditions and management at the plant.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2001
After losing two court battles, Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura has agreed to a judgment ordering it to obey all traffic laws and keep detailed records of its drivers' work hours. The agreement, which follows a civil suit accusing dispatchers of keeping fatigued truck drivers on the road, was announced Tuesday by Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury. Bradbury's consumer protection division filed the lawsuit last year against Pictsweet's parent company, Tennessee-based United Foods Inc.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2004 | Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
United Farm Workers leaders pledged Thursday to help rebuild business at the embattled Pictsweet Mushroom Farm following the union's formal announcement of the end of a long-running labor dispute at the Ventura plant. After 17 years of fighting for a union contract, Pictsweet workers last week won a three-year pact that will bring higher wages, better job security and a company-paid medical plan to the plant's 300 employees.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2003 | Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
California's farm labor board has found operators of a Ventura mushroom farm guilty of violating collective-bargaining laws during contract talks with the United Farm Workers union, a ruling that a company attorney has promised to appeal. In a 75-page decision issued last month, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board concluded that officials at Pictsweet Mushroom Farm had bargained in bad faith and illegally supported efforts to oust the UFW as the workers' representative.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2002 | FRED ALVAREZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
First the hard work, now the payoff. After months of lobbying lawmakers and marching in the streets, workers at Southern California's largest mushroom farm said Tuesday that they believe they may be among the first to benefit from a new law aimed at resolving deadlocked labor disputes. The legislation, signed Monday by Gov. Gray Davis, permits state agricultural officials to impose mandatory mediation in cases in which farm labor negotiations reach an impasse.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 8, 2002 | FRED ALVAREZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Workers embroiled in a long-running contract dispute with owners of Southern California's largest mushroom farm are pinning their hopes on proposed legislation that could force a settlement in the stalemate. The bill, written by state Senate leader John Burton (D-San Francisco) and backed by the United Farm Workers union, would permit binding, third-party arbitration in cases where farm labor negotiations reach an impasse.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2002 | FRED ALVAREZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A state labor board Wednesday upheld a judge's decision that the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura illegally fired a mushroom picker who was engaged in organizing activities for the United Farm Workers union. In a 27-page ruling, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board ordered Pictsweet to offer Fidel Andrade his job back and reimburse him for lost wages.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2001
As one of the participants in the Pictsweet march, I resent the tone of the article Sept. 2. Pictsweet management was made out to be so benevolent that the workers had no reason to picket. A far more egregious error was that the author failed to mention the great number of church members (Methodist, Jewish, Catholic, Unitarian, Quaker, etc.) and Democrats from various clubs. He made it appear that the only marchers were from the unions and the Communist and Green parties. By the way, if there were any Communists there they certainly did not identify themselves with flags or placards.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2001 | HOLLY J. WOLCOTT, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ventura County officials have charged PictSweet Mushroom Farms $91,000 and ordered the company to add several safety measures after a smoldering compost fire last month that shrouded much of the west county with acrid smoke for a week. County Fire Chief Bob Roper said company officials were billed last week for the 3-acre blaze near Ventura, which broke out March 11 in a massive pile of straw and manure used to fertilize mushrooms.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 23, 2001 | MARGARET TALEV, TIMES STAFF WRITER
As county officials determine the final costs of battling last week's compost fire at PictSweet Mushroom Farms, company executives now say they suspect arson rather than spontaneous combustion. Fire investigators, however, have found no evidence to support an arson theory, though they have not ruled it out as a possibility, Fire Chief Bob Roper said Thursday. Investigators continue to interview company workers and firefighters for clues, he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2001 | Times Staff Reports
State labor lawyers have accused operators of the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura of illegally firing a United Farm Worker's organizer at the plant. According to a complaint issued by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Fidel Andrade was fired in May for exercising his right to organize and support the union. Pictsweet and the UFW have been locked in a protracted labor dispute over wages and benefits.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 2001 | TIMOTHY HUGHES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Demanding a contract and better treatment of laborers at Pictsweet Mushroom Farm, a boisterous group of farm workers, union leaders and political activists marched across Ventura on Saturday from a high school to a park near the embattled farm's headquarters on Gonzales Road. The marchers--carrying handmade signs and red United Farm Workers flags with black eagle insignias--stopped traffic on several busy streets.
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