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Katy Grimes

Gerawan Farm Worker Files Lawsuit to Oust ALRB Board Member for Bias

In a provocative and electrifying legal move, Gerawan Farming Company employee Silvia Lopez filed a legal brief to disqualify ALRB Board Member Genevieve Shiroma from the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, for bias and conflicts of interest.

Lopez cites evidence of Shiroma’s close political ties with the United Farm Workers union, and long time Democrat political operative Richie Ross. Silvia Lopez, a San Joaquin Valley farm worker, filed legal documents detailing payments over $120,000 from Shiroma to United Farm Workers’ Lobbyist Richie Ross, and documented Shiroma’s financial support of the author of a bill designed to help the UFW force itself on workers. UFW is the same union trying to force itself on the employees where Lopez works, as Lopez has fought for two years for her co-workers right to vote. Shiroma made the payments to the UFW’s lobbyist while she sat in judgment of issues directly involving that union, and while the workers ballots remain uncounted in a government vault

In 2013, I did an investigation of Shiroma and found some startling conflicts.

“In 1998, voters… Read More

Katy Grimes

Judge Orders ALRB To Release Documents to Gerawan Farming

There’s more good news for Gerawan Farming! Superior CourtJudge Timothy Frawley finds that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board IS subject to the California Public Records Act.

For several yearsI’ve been writing about Gerawan Farming in Fresno, and the company’s gutsy refusal to cave under the pressure of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s denial of farmworkers’ rights to vote for or against unionization.

Gerawan recently was granted a significant win by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley, who agreed to the Gerawan’s request for documents in an unfair labor practice complaint filed by… Read More

Katy Grimes

Judge Exposes ALRB General Counsel Conflicted Role In Gerawan Case

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley partially granted Gerawan Farming Company’s request for documents in an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Frawley’stentative rulingcame out Thursday, prior to a court hearing Friday.

The tentative ruling is a win for Gerawan Farming and its employees. The court says that all communications between the ALRB and the General Counsel concerning the Temporary Restraining Order application authorization must be disclosed.

The… Read More

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

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