(April 26) A national boycott and walk-out planned for May 1 by immigrants working in the U.S. could cause millions in losses to the produce community of Salinas, Calif.

In order to compensate for the potential labor shortage, many Salinas grower-shippers planned to work overtime the weekend leading up to the protest, called by some “A National Day Without An Immigrant.”

Most produce companies have been supportive of workers’ plans to participate in the boycott, said Pete Maturino, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union’s Local 1096 in Salinas.

The local chapter represents about 3,000 workers in agriculture and has 30 labor contracts with agricultural companies.

If 100% of immigrants didn’t show up to their jobs in the produce community, the loss could be in the millions, Maturino said.

He’s told workers that, legally, they need to show up to work May 1.

“But realistically, this is a boycott,” he added. “We’ve been negotiating and talking with employers. The employer community has been very supportive of allowing employees to participate.”

One employer in particular was willing to work on Sunday in order to let workers protest on Monday, Maturino said.

Tom Russell, president of Pacific International Marketing Inc., Salinas, said the company planned to work overtime on Friday and Saturday to alleviate a potential shortage Monday.

He added that recent adverse weather conditions have caused a lower-than-normal supply of products, which may mitigate the effect of a labor shortage.