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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Do union activists work for Gov. Brown, farm board?

SACRAMENTO — The revolving door among political consultants, community organizers and state government revolves right into the governor’s office and the Agriculture Labor Relations Board.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Martha Guzman-Aceves deputy legislative secretary for agriculture, environment and natural resources. Before that, she was a founding partner of Cultivo Consulting, which says it engages in lobbying, political campaigning and community organizing in California. It’s a lobbying and outreach firm specializing in social, economic and environmental justice.

She also was listed on 2011 tax returns (pictured nearby) as… Read More

Katy Grimes

Anti-UFW farm workers seek help from Gov. Jerry Brown

Roll over, Cesar Chavez, here comes Silvia Lopez.

Silvia Lopez is a quiet, thoughtful 15-year Gerawan Farming employee, and the de facto leader of thousands of Central Valley farm workers who have been protesting for nearly a year to oust the United Farm Workers union from the farming company.

Seven hundred Gerawan farm workers took a day off without pay and descended on Sacramento Wednesday to attend a meeting at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Then they walked to the State Capitol to meet Gov. Jerry Brown.

Six of the farm workers tried to ask Brown to intervene with the ALRB to allow them to vote on whether to keep or oust the UFW from Gerawan Farming. “Jerry Brown, we want an election at Gerawan Farming,” Lopez said, as she approached the governor’s office.

While waiting in the Capitol hallway outside, one of Brown’s employees poked her head out and asked, “Are you guys with… Read More

Katy Grimes

Farm workers fighting UFW unionization

The United Farm Workers labor union and the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board have found themselves on the brink of ruination and even irrelevance.

The labor union boasted 50,000 members by the end of the 1970s. But according to the UFW’s last Labor Organization Annual Report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, as of Dec. 31, 2012 the union had only 4,443 members. So it has declined by more than 90 percent. By contrast, today the California Teachers Association lists 325,000 members.

In order to breathe new life into the union, many in the farming community claim the ALRB and UFW appear to have joined forces to reverse their misfortune by targeting one… Read More

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