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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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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

Katy Grimes

Bill Gives Special Privileges To ALRB Lawyer

The epitome of special interest legislation was recently introduced, but the special interest is state government.

“Sacramento’s Worst Boss” may be carrying legislation for Sacramento’s worst state employee. Assemblywomen Nora Campos, D-San Jose, hasauthored legislationon behalf of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board General Counsel, to grant the general counsel unheard-of authority.

AB 561would grant Sylvia Torres Guillén, the ALRB general counsel, “primary authority with respect to the calculation and litigation of makewhole awards, backpay calculations, and other monetary awards in compliance proceedings of agricultural employers before the board.”

In other words, Torres Guillén would have unlimited authority over the contract negotiations with agriculture employers and farmworkers.

Keeping an apparent wicked agenda, Torres Guillén has targeted several big farming employers with a vengeance, as well as some ALRB… Read More

Katy Grimes

Bill Would Allow Farm Workers Voice in Contract Negotiations

As Wisconsin is set to become the 25th Right-to-Work state, California Gov. Jerry Brown is ignoring thousands of farm workers who don’t want to be unionized.

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.

The workers at Gerawan Farming have been trying since October 2012 to decertify the United Farm Workers labor union. The workers are not only being fought by the UFW union, Brown’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board has thwarted them at every turn. And pleas to the Democratic Governor and Legislature have fallen on deaf ears, despite their claims to care for farm workers.

The only help the Gerawan workers have received is from state Assembly members Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

Patterson has introduced AB 1389,theFair… Read More

Katy Grimes

LAUSD Board Attempting to Influence Farm Workers’ Fight Against UFW

Why would a Los Angeles Unified School District board member ask the board to influence a legal battle between a large Fresno fruit grower and the United Farm Workers labor union?

Rather than offer support to the Gerawan Farming companyworkersin their fight to oust the United Farm Workers labor union from their Fresno area farming employer, Steve Zimmer, a LAUSD 
Board Member
has authored a Resolution calling for Gerawan Farming… Read More

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