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Assemblymember Arambula and State Senator Anna Caballero to Host a Virtual Town Hall on March 4 for Employees Impacted by the Prima Wawona Closure; Proteus Inc. Also Will Participate

For immediate release:

FRESNO – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) – in partnership with Proteus, Inc.—will host a virtual town hall on Monday, March 4, for employees and others impacted by the Prima Wawona closure.

The town hall will begin at 9 a.m. and will be livestreamed via the legislators’ Facebook pages or via Zoom at

The aim is to provide information regarding resources and services available to thousands of employees facing layoffs from Prima Wawona, a merged company that became the largest grower of peaches, plums, and nectarines in the nation.

The company filed bankruptcy late last year and, in January, issued notices of impending layoffs in compliance with federal and state laws that require a company to provide at least 60 days advance notice of mass layoffs. More than 5,400 notices were issued, but it’s been reported that some experts believe the number of jobs affected could reach 10,000.

The State’s Employment Development Department (EDD) awarded $7 million to La Cooperativa Campesina de California, a nonprofit organization that provides support services to farmworkers, to help the Prima Wawona workers and other agricultural workers laid off in California. In turn, La Cooperative Campesina is partnering with Proteus, Inc, which also is a nonprofit that has worked to improve the lives of farmworkers for more than 55 years in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties.

In addition, representatives from the State Employment Development Department and the UC Merced Community and Labor Center will present information in this virtual event.

Services that can be provided to workers include assistance with unemployment applications, client-centered assessments, career pathway counseling, job training, and work experience. In addition, wrap-around services can address employment barriers, such as access to food, housing, utilities, transportation, and more.

Assemblymember Arambula said: “Senator Caballero and I hope this informational session will help these farmworkers whose lives are being turned upside down. Farmworkers are the backbone of our Central Valley’s agriculture industry that feeds the world. These are anxious days for many of the Prima Wawona employees, and we must do what we can to support them and, by extension, the families who depend on them. I greatly appreciate that Proteus, Inc, a long-established trusted messenger in the farmworking community, is part of this effort to reach out and assist these workers through this stressful time.”

Senator Caballero said: “Together with Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, in partnership with our network of advocates, we hope to identify resources that can provide services to Prima Wawona employees who are without work. I spent many years as an attorney representing farmworkers, and I understand the challenges and grief that occur when businesses close and families are displaced because of a plant closure. Agricultural workers are a vital part of our community and economy, and we need to do whatever we can to help. We will continue to work to find the necessary resources to assist displaced workers during this difficult time so they can provide for their families.”

Michelle Engel-Silva, Chief Executive Officer of Proteus, Inc. said: “In the face of the heartbreaking reality of farmworker layoffs, the strength of our community is truly tested. At Proteus, Inc., we're honored to stand alongside our farmworker family and be their trusted community resource during this difficult time. We offer a guiding hand and a compassionate ear to those in need. Whether it's accessing our in-house services or connecting with our network of partner agencies, we're here to ensure no one will have to face this challenge alone.”



Felicia Matlosz for Assemblymember Arambula at or (559) 304-9286

Elisa Rivera for Senator Caballero at or (559) 264-3070