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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

The Sordid Story of the Radicals at the CA Ag Labor Board

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board may have just celebrated its 40th anniversary, but this board also has a long history of abusive behavior – toward California farm workers, and farmers and ranchers.

Many are aware of the fight that thousands of workers at Gerawan Farming have been waging since 2012 to oust the United Farm Workers union from Gerawan. The ALRB has clearly been “in cahoots” with the UFW, according to a Superior Court Judge, to force the workers into the union.

But there are many more cases of farm and ranch owners abused by the ALRB, which raise serious doubts about the fairness and objectivity of this California state agency created to defend the rights of farmworkers. And top ALRB attorneys are involved up to their eyeballs, misleading farm workers, as well as the courts.

Some of the obscure cases resurfaced after the surprise gubernatorial appointment last week of Sylvia Torres-Guillen, the controversial general counsel of the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board, to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office as special counsel. Many say Brown did this to avoid any more public scrutiny over his appointment of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Leftist Dolores Huerta Assails Anti-union Silvia Lopez at ALRB Celebration

The biggest labor dispute in California just got more interesting. Hundreds of farm workers from Gerawan Farms went to Sacramento last week to demonstrate outside of the Stanford Mansion where Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board celebrated their 40th anniversary. I was told by several people who attended the event that pro-United Farm Worker union representative Dolores Huerta attempted to intimidate Gerawan workers, and got physical with anti-UFW leader Silvia Lopez. But the Gerawan workers stayed strong and demanded, “Count Our Votes!”

At the Sacramento celebration last week of the 40th anniversary of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, one of the radical left’s most notorious UFW union labor leaders tried to prevent the new labor leader of the non-union farmworkers from taking a photo with the governor.

Many people at the gala witnessed 85-year-old Dolores Huerta strong arm anti-union farm worker Silvia Lopez.

Darling of the left and an openly socialist admirer of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Huerta has said publicly she believes that “Republicans hate Latinos.” Huerta encourages illegal… Read More

Katy Grimes

“In Cahoots” – The Illegal Relationship Between ALRB Lawyers and the UFW

One of the most significant labor relations fights in the country is currently taking place in California’s Central Valley.The California state agency mandated by law to be an impartial farmworkers’ advocate between employers and unions is “in cahoots” with the United Farm Workers labor union. At issue are the legal tactics and scruples of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

A state superior court judge told an Agricultural Labor Relations Board attorney in 2013 that it appeared they were “in cahoots” with the United Farm Workers labor union. Even an independent investigation has confirmed that this is so.

Since being appointed ALRB General Counsel in 2011 by Gov. Jerry… Read 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

Important Legal Victory for Farmworkers and Gerawan Farming

Thursday, a California Appellate Court struck a blow to autocratic labor, when it struck down California’s Compulsory Contracting Statute as unconstitutional, and set aside the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board-ordered contract on Gerawan Farming. The court called the forcing of this unwanted union contract on workers an “unconstitutional abuse of authority.”

And, the Court even awarded repayment to Gerawan of its costs for bringing this appeal.

The ruling is a significant victory for Gerawan Farming and its 5,000 workers. Gerawan’s workers have been fighting a UFW takeover since October 2012, when the United Farm Workers labor union showed up unannounced after abandoning workers for more than 20 years, and ordered workers to pay 3 percent of their pay as dues or… Read 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

UFW Inflates Membership Numbers – A Lie, or Premature Calculation?

The United Farm Workers labor union is either lying about how many members it really has, or is boastfully counting future farm worker members, while assuming it will win the fight over the workers.

Gerawan Farming employees are under assault by the United Farm Workers labor union, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and by Democratic politicians up and down the state.

The workers don’t want to be members of the UFW, and held an election in 2013 to officially decertify the labor union. But the ALRB locked up the workers’ ballots, refused to count them, and has instead assisted the UFW in its takeover attempt.

Gerawan Farming is a third-generation family farming operation, growing peaches and grapes in the Fresno area. The farming company is well known as a favored employer, and currently employees 5,000 workers. Gerawan has a history of paying the highest wages and compensation package in the industry, according to the many employees I’ve spoken with.

It is apparent the UFW labor union is trying to gain what they can no longer win through the secret ballot process and sincere labor negotiations with… Read More

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