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Jackson & Perkins

j_p-logo-black.jpg Ensuring that its employees are well compensated and consulted in business decisions is a key reason why business is booming and blooming at the nation’s largest specialty rose producer.

In Partnership With: UFW

Raising working conditions for farmworkers while generating profit

At a Glance

Founded in 1872, Jackson & Perkins is the nation’s largest producer of patented roses and became the first U.S. mail-order nursery in 1939.   The company is a subsidiary of Harry & David Operating Corporation, and ships over 3 million flowers and plants to customers every year.

Headquarters
Medford, OR

Website
www.jacksonandperkins.com

Industry
Agriculture and Non-Store Retail

Union Employees
1,400 farm workers

Total Employees
N/A

Annual Revenues
$420 million in net sales the second half of 2005

Outlets
5,000 acres of rose fields cultivated and 10 million plants grown and harvested each year

Customers
More than 3 million roses & plants shipped annually

Jackson & Perkins’ trademark roses are the product of a partnership between the company and its employees’ union, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).  The relationship between management and workers has blossomed into a meaningful collaboration that welcomes employees’ ideas.

After years of encountering resistance from management for trying to form a union at its farm in the Central Valley of California, workers overwhelmingly voted for representation by the UFW in 1995.  Recognizing the will of the workers, Jackson & Perkins President Bill Williams stopped fighting the UFW and began good-faith negotiations.  An initial contract was reached just three short months later.

“We don’t have an adversarial relationship with our union at all,” says Bill Ihle, Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations at Jackson & Perkins.  “We look at it as [a contributing factor to] productivity [and] a better product.”

The partnership has harvested a number of improvements at the company.  Jackson & Perkins has seen an increase in productivity and a decrease in tardiness, absenteeism, and workers’ compensation claims.  Workers now enjoy benefits that far exceed those of non-union farm workers, including health insurance, a pension, and up to three weeks paid vacation.  In addition, Jackson & Perkins farm workers receive an hourly rate instead of the incentive-driven ‘piece-rate’ common to the industry.  Outside of California, where state law grants farm laborers the right to organize, a vast majority of immigrant farm workers do not have the protection of federal labor laws or a union.

When management, workers, and the union collaborate, they tackle issues beyond typical labor-management disputes to explore ways to improve operations—such as developing a bilingual curriculum to enrich communication and problem solving.

“Now, we work like a team,” says Roberto Zamora, who has propagated roses for more than 25 years at Jackson & Perkins.  “We want the company to grow, and a lot of us have good ideas to make that happen.”

Two of the company’s specialty roses were suggestions from Jackson & Perkins workers and their union.  The Cesar Chavez rose honors the memory of the late UFW founder.  Proceeds from the sale of the Our Lady of Guadalupe rose benefit the Hispanic College Fund.

The UFW label and insignia that accompany these Jackson & Perkins roses signify the pride, respect, and partnership responsible for their cultivation.

Selection Criteria

> Collaborating as equal partners with workers and their unions to craft innovative strategies on compensation, performance, and productivity to meet business goals and address challenges

> Protecting workers’ safety and health

> Offering training and professional
development opportunities

> Creating new jobs and implementing
employee retention strategies