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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

State’s Ag Labor Board Involved In Intimidation, Harassment of Latino Farm Workers

Labor unions target many non-union businesses across the country for takeover; some businesses successfully fend off the unions, and others succumb. But in California, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, a state agency, works in cahoots with the United Farm Workers labor union, intimidating, fear-mongering, threatening, and uses legal actions filed against farming employers to force them into submission to the United Farm Workers labor union.

But recently, the ALRB has been dealt several legal blows to its efforts to malign Gerawan Farming, and force its farm workers into unionization.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board was created following the signing of the Agriculture Labor Relations Act in 1975 by then-Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, to restore peace in the fields. The California Labor Act states:

It is hereby stated to be the policy of the State of California to encourage and protect the right of agricultural employees to full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment, and to be free from theRead More

Katy Grimes

Farm Workers Endure Forced Segregation, Intimidation, and Rule Changes By ALRB

Despite a recent legal victory, thousands of California farm workers await another legal decision on the fate of their votes, by the state agency they petitioned to hold the election.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board is mandated to protect the rights of California farm workers. However, the ALRB instead waged a systematic campaign against thousands of farm workers in 2013 to prevent them from voting to de-certify the United Farm Workers union at Gerawan Farming, one of the nation’s largest family-owned fruit producers.

Court documents, legal testimony, and sworn statements demonstrate a pattern of voter intimidation, harassment, last-minute rule changing, and other tactics to disenfranchise the Latino farm workers of Gerawan. Legal documents show that the ALRB general counsel and the Visalia-based regional director orchestrated a concerted effort to manipulate the votes of thousands of laborers at Gerawan Farming.

ALRB Lawyer Orchestrated Intimidation, Segregation

ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillén led the agency’s effort to… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB Won’t Investigate UFW Organizer’s Confession Of Lie Under Orders To Influence Union Decertification Vote

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board is responsible for investigating unfair labor practices in California. However, despite knowing that a former United Farm Workers labor union organizer testified that UFW leadership instructed him to lie to farmworkers, and instructed him to coerce farmworkers to lie in written statements submitted to the ALRB, the state agency has decided not to investigate.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board decision provides even more evidence that the agency is collaborating with the UFW in violation of state law. According to the law, the ALRB must serve farmworkers’ interests by being impartial between unions and employers. Instead, the state agency is ignoring the evidence that the United Farm Workers labor union orchestrated a disinformation campaign to influence the ALRB – even with a former UFW organizer’s sworn confession that the union leadership had trained and instructed him to organize a campaign of lies.

The former UFW organizer who confessed to the… Read More

Katy Grimes

UFW Organizer Coached Witnesses To Lie On Orders From Union Leadership

A former United Farm Workers labor union organizer has testified that UFW leadership instructed him to lie to farmworkers, and instructed him how to coerce farmworkers to lie in written statements submitted to a state board as official evidence.

This latest explosive news in the Gerawan Farming workers’ fight to oust the UFW shines more sunlight on the conspiracy inside the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and particularly on its office of general counsel, and the close relationship with the UFW. The ALRB general counsel’s office has been accused of blatant bias in favor of the UFW under its present chief, Sylvia Torres-Guillén.

Lies, Lies and More Lies

The ALRB used lies manufactured by the UFW labor union to put a halt to the Gerawan farm workers’ efforts to de-certify the UFW as their collective bargaining representative. Gerawan Farming is one of California’s largest fruit farms.

The disinformation campaign allegedly was part of the UFW’s efforts to discredit Gerawan Farming, as well as the Gerawan workers leading the de-certification campaign.

The UFW lies and… Read More

Katy Grimes

Labor Kills Bill To Help Farm Workers

Labor unions are still running the show in the Democratically-controlled California Legislature. Despite hearing from more than 50 farmworkers on Wednesday, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee denied the farmworkers the right to vote on their own labor negotiated contacts, even though this right is enjoyed by other union members in California.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove presented ABRead More

Katy Grimes

Farm Employees Want ‘Right-To-Work’ In Union Dominated California

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently signed a right-to-work bill into law. This is significant because a“right-to-work” law is a statute that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown has ignored thousands of farm workers who don’t want to be unionized. Apparently there is no “right-to-work” in California under this governor.

The significant labor reforms enacted by Walker have struck many important blows against organized labor, effectively ending collective bargaining for Wisconsin public workers. In the four years since these reforms were enacted, the state’s most influential labor unions have been forced to… Read More

Katy Grimes

UFW Contracts Pay Less than Minimum Wage

The United Farm Workers unionrecently admitted that their contracts do not provide a living wage. They did it in a room full of people.

I attended the conference UC Davis held April 17 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. I nearly didn’t make it, as the conference was supposedly sold out prior to the deadline. But it quickly became apparent that leaders of the United Farm Workers union manipulated the event registration. The United Farm Workers labor union claimed it was bringing busloads of workers to the event, and reserved the seats. The day of the event, six workers showed up; there were more UFW employees at the conference than actual workers.

These are the tactics used by the desperate UFW, clinging to relevance by a thread. UFW membership is hovering at 3,300 members, according to Philip Martin, UC Davis Professor of Agricultural and Resource… Read More

Katy Grimes

Bill Would Allow Farm Workers Voice in Contract Negotiations

As Wisconsin is set to become the 25th Right-to-Work state, California Gov. Jerry Brown is ignoring thousands of farm workers who don’t want to be unionized.

In one of the most significant labor relations fights in the country proceedings have turned ugly, with many questioning the legal tactics and scruples of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

The workers at Gerawan Farming have been trying since October 2012 to decertify the United Farm Workers labor union. The workers are not only being fought by the UFW union, Brown’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board has thwarted them at every turn. And pleas to the Democratic Governor and Legislature have fallen on deaf ears, despite their claims to care for farm workers.

The only help the Gerawan workers have received is from state Assembly members Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

Patterson has introduced AB 1389,theFair… Read More

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