Napa County’s Grape Growers Continue to Pursue Excellence in Equitable Working Conditions

Napa, CA (November 9, 2022) – Using a newly developed assessment tool, thirteen forward thinking Napa Valley grape growers sought feedback from 311 farmworkers, as part of an ongoing collaboration between UC Cooperative Extension and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. Employers used the feedback to implement positive labor strategies:

Rocio Escobedo, Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Program Coordinator, facilitating the Job Satisfaction Survey. Photos provided by Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation staff

“Thank you for this great report, and for your time and efforts to help vineyard teams and their employers better understand each other! When I saw the study, I was immediately intrigued because we have been struggling with pay [and other] issues [that were raised by our vineyard team]. I am always looking for resources and opportunities to improve communication with our teams”.

“…I’m thinking [the survey] would be great to continue every year. Our team is growing but is also recently built, so we have had some turnover, but we are feeling a good bonding now. Thank you for sharing the results, they mean a lot to us. We are ready to help you in the future”.

The survey collects farmworker input on their job satisfaction in 10 key areas of the work environment, including internal communication, compensation, and promotional opportunities. Written comments on any topic are also collected and shared with employers. All information is protected and anonymous.

The anonymous nature of the survey and the ability to generate results quickly make it an effective tool for gauging the work environment and responding promptly to address worker concerns. An additional bonus in 2022 was a timely analysis of pay and benefits. With this information, employers can tailor their benefits programs to meet worker needs. Evidence-based information on regionally competitive pay meant employers could adjust their pay rates accordingly to prevent turnover and boost worker satisfaction.

The survey takes 10-20 minutes to complete and is facilitated by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation whose Spanish fluent staff are available to collect the responses from farmworkers.

Within 2 weeks of completion, employers receive a personalized report from UC Cooperative Extension, indicating the work areas their farmworkers find satisfactory, areas that may need improvement, and a breakdown by job role. At the end of the season, a final County-wide report summarizes findings across employers and answers broader questions about labor issues. Newly released factsheets provide detailed information on positive labor strategies in the areas of Compensation, Communication & Company Culture, Workplace Health & Safety, Workplace Sexual Harassment, and External Factors.

The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation offers additional programs to support farmworker growth and development. A three-day program on November 16-18, 2022, includes in-depth training on positive communication skills and addressing multigenerational crews. Under development is a new leadership program to provide a series of skill building sessions over the course of a year.

“The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is committed to investing in education and supporting the professional development of Napa Valley vineyard workers,” said Paul Goldberg of Bettinelli Vineyards and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation President, “This project creates opportunity and has the potential to change lives.”

In 2023, growers will have the opportunity to participate in job satisfaction surveys between February and July. Returning participants are welcome, giving them the advantage of monitoring yearly changes in satisfaction. New participants are encouraged, to learn more about their crews’ perceptions of their work environment. Audio recordings of the survey in Mexican indigenous languages, Mixtec and Zapotec will improve access for additional workers.

To participate in the 2023 survey, register using the interest form on the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation website.

Rocio Escobedo, Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Program Coordinator, facilitating the Job Satisfaction Survey. Photos provided by Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation staff

About the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation

Founded by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers in 2011, the mission of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is to support and promote Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States, providing educational opportunities, advanced training programs, leadership and management classes, English literacy programs, and much more. To date, the Farmworker Foundation has offered education and professional development opportunities to more than 21,000 vineyard workers and their families. For more information, visit our website Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and follow the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation on Facebook and Instagram.

About the University of California Cooperative Extension

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is part of the national Land Grant system, where selected public institutions of higher learning are charged with providing practical education to the public through various outreach efforts. Collaboration with Napa County and the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is one of the outreach efforts. For more information visit the UCCE website.

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