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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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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

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

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