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Katy Grimes

Gerawan Farming Update: First Amendment Advocates Call ALRB a Threat to Free Speech

After years ofintense government and union harassment by theAgricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers labor union,Gerawan Farming Inc. notified its workers that effective February 25, 2016, the company will fully close its entire table grape operation, in the County of Fresno. Pursuant to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, known as the WARN Act, Gerawan has been forced into a position of closing an entire arm of its farming operations because of California government assisting a labor union attempt to take over a large company.And Gov. Jerry Brown has not once intervened to stop the unlawful harassment by the union or his own state agency.

The table grape operation closure does not affect any of the employees’ employment in other Gerawan farming operations, but now thousands of farm workers will lose well-paying farm jobs because of California’s corrupt state government. Gerawan always exceeds industry average wages and are the first to increase wages. Gerawan’s website shows their hourly wage for grape packline as $16.27, and upwards of $20.00 per… Read More

Katy Grimes

Unconstitutional Legislation Singles Out Political Enemies of UFW

This is the second part in a series; Part l is here.

California businesses are being targeted for retribution through a bill passed by the Legislature and signed into lawby Gov. Brown October 10, rewriting the definition of the labor rules governing piece-rate compensation in California.

Assembly Bill 1513 unfairly singles out two of the largest fruit growers in the San Joaquin Valley, for discriminatory treatment, based on demands that these two companies be excluded from protection under the bill’s affirmative defense. Both companies are targets of United Farm Workers unionizing efforts.

It is however, a violation of the U.S. Constitution to single out members of a group so as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial (United States v. Lovett).

Fowler Packing Company and Gerawan Farming are the victims of an injustice done at the behest of the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Legislation Targets Political Enemies

The IRS scandal in the headlines for several years revealed the Internal Revenue Service developed a scheme to prosecute conservatives who publicly oppose President Obama’s policies.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and his legislative Democrats have just accomplished a similar scheme with the passage of a bill targeting two large agriculture businesses, which dared to challenge the illegal stranglehold on Brown’s appointed Agriculture Labor Relations Board by the waning United Farm Workers labor union.

Family owned and operatedFowler Packing Company and Gerawan Farming are targets of Assembly Bill 1513, which unfairly carves-out the two employers who have long been targeted for UFW unionizing efforts, from the limited safe harbor provisions in the recently passed and signed bill.

Both large employers and growers, Fowler Packing grows peaches, nectarines, plums and mandarins, and Gerawan grows nectarines, peaches and grapes.

Wag theRead More

Katy Grimes

Jessica Arciniega: From “Union Agent” to ALRB Attorney

In 2003, an Agricultural Labor Relations Board administrative judge identified Jessica Arciniega as “UFW staff member” at its Oxnard office. ALRB administrative law judge Nancy Smith even called her a “union agent.”

Today, Arciniega is one of the ALRB’s top staff attorneys. And with the recent shakeups in the ALRB general counsel’s office that resulted in the sackings and sudden resignations of top lawyers, people are wondering why Arciniega remains on the job.

The lawyer has come a long way since getting her law degree as an “apprentice” of longtime UFW lawyer Barbara Macri-Ortiz, who in fact calls Arciniega “my apprentice.”

State law requires all ALRB personnel to be worker advocates with no partiality for or against either employers or unions. Arciniega is anything but objective. Her title at the UFW was “lead organizer.” The Militant, published by the Socialist Workers Party, reports Arciniega being a UFW boycott leader as far back as 2000.

In Oxnard more than a decade ago, the Los Angeles Times profiled Arciniega under the headline, “… Read More

Katy Grimes

Labor Day California: No Right To Work, No Right To Vote

While California Gov. Jerry Brown has ignored thousands of California farm workers who don’t want to be unionized,Wisconsin became the 25th Right-to-Work state.

Happy Labor Day Gerawan farm workers. 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.

TheAgricultural Labor Relations Boardsays it exists to protect the rights ofallagricultural employees, including those not wanting labor organization representation, as is the case with Gerawan Farming employees. However, Gerawan farming employees say they have not received any assistance from the ALRB.

Whenever they can, labor unions historically try to gain control over entry into the labor market. “Such measures are for the purpose of holding down the supply of labor in the field and thereby enabling those fortunate enough to be admitted to it, to earn higher incomes,” wrote George Reisman of the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Plenty of Evidence of Injustice to Farm Workers By California Govt.

With the dozens of stories I’ve written about the bold fight of farm workers at Gerawan Farming against unionization by the United Farm Workers labor union, and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, a couple of recent letters synopsized the shocking series of events.

The attorney for the workers, Paul Bauer, penned two letters to ALRB Regional Director Silas Shawver, outlining events, and laying out a clear case for conflicts of interest by the attorneys at the ALRB.

I’ve reported on the Gerawan workers since Spring 2013, including the November 5, 2013 decertification election. Because the Gerawan workers likely voted to decertify the UFW, Shawver and Sylvia Torres Guillen, both attorneys with the ALRB, locked up the ballots and refused to count them, claiming there was some interference with the… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB Quietly Getting Rid of Another Problem Employee

The ALRB has been a quiet state-sponsored accomplice for the United Farm Workers in the union’s combative relationship with Gerawan Farming, as well as many other California farming and ranching businesses. And since 2011, the ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres Guillén was been behind most of the combat – until she was recently reassigned to Gov. Brown’s inner office sanctum, rather than firing her, and filing charges against her with the California Bar Association.

Now it appears that another of the ALRB antagonists, Silas Shawver, the ALRB Regional Director in Visalia, is also becoming someone else’s problem, rather than firing him, and filing charges against him with the California Bar Association. According to a source close to the ALRB, Shawver, a lawyer, is leaving the ALRB and going to work for the department of Fair Employment and Housing, where he can continue to terrorize California employers under the protection of another state agency.

“Governor Brown is known for moving his controversial appointees to other government positions to get them out of the limelight, rather than firing them for misconduct,” the Los… Read More

Katy Grimes

Ag Labor Board’s Union Organizers

PART ll in ALRB Series:The Sordid Story of the Radicals at the CA Ag Labor Board.Click here for Part l

The ALRB’s Regional Director in the Central Valley, Silas Shawver, has a history as a union organizer, as do other ALRB employees. Shawver describes himself as a “union organizer turned lawyer.” (see graphic at right), and on his Linkedin page, Shawver lists “Organizer” as one of his jobs with UNITE HERE (graphic below).

“The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board was created in 1975 to ensure peace in the fields of California by… Read More

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