WGA and AP trade groups plan merger

WGA and AP trade groups plan merger

Western Growers Association (WGA) and Agricultural Producers (AP) have announced an historic agreement to merge operations of the two trade organization serving agriculture in Arizona and California.

Both boards of directors approved the agreement, effective July 1, 2000, following thoughtful deliberations and discussion. The elected board members, representing growers, packers and shippers in both states, agreed that the needs and concerns of both memberships would be served best by this new relationship.

One of the first activities to be sponsored jointly by both organizations was to be the annual Human Resources Conference in June in Oxnard, Calif.

“This agreement will expand the resources available to members of both organizations, and will help their companies gain the greatest competitive edge possible in today’s business climate,” said Gary Pasquinelli, WGA chairman and owner-operator of Pasquinelli Produce in Yuma, Ariz.

“It’s a win-win agreement. WGA members will benefit from AP’s programs in human resources and labor law. AP members can take advantage of the wide range of WGA services from political action to insurance, and from health benefits to international trade,” said Don Dressler, president of Western Growers Insurance Services, who first approached AP on the subject.

AP contributors will become WGA members as a group in July. All WGA services will then be available to AP members. Services currently provided by AP will be available to all members, including access to existing AP staff and legal counsel, under the umbrella of WGA services. The AP staff will be employed by WGA as of Jan. 1, 2001. The operational transition will conclude by November 2001.

‘Cost-effective’

“This step is a cost-effective solution to meet our members’ needs with the highest possible service. United with other members of the fresh produce industry, we gain the advantage of greater numbers and the ability to speak in a unified voice,” said Jeanne Flaherty, AP president and legal counsel with Marrs and Flaherty.

The current AP board of directors will be appointed to a newly formed WGA Citrus Committee. Two AP members of the WGA Citrus Committee will sit as at-large directors on the WGA board. One of these directors will serve on the WGA Labor Committee. Additionally, one current AP board member will be named executive secretary of the WGA Executive Committee and as an ex-officio member of the WGA board of directors. Legal counselors Jeanne Flaherty and Bill Marrs will join Western Growers Law Group.

Originally formed as Agricultural Producers Labor Committee in 1934, AP has served as a resource on labor and employment issues for the citrus industry Primarily. The law firm of Marrs and Flaherty has provided AP members with counsel on industrial relations and labor-related matters.

Fresh produce growers, packers and shippers in the Imperial Valley formed Western Growers Association in 1926. Since then the association has broadened its scope to include a variety of agricultural businesses in Arizona and California, primarily in the fresh fruit, vegetable and nut industry.

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