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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Latino Legislators Visit Illegal Immigrants but Ignore Fresno Farmworkers

News outletsare giddy with the announcement of atour by theCalifornia Latino Legislative Caucus, of the illegal immigrant detention facilities at theVentura County Naval Base “to inspect the care immigrants are receiving.”

These same California lawmakers have ignored the plight and pleasfor help of thousands of Latino farm workers who are fighting to decertify the United Farm Workers labor union, and the state Agricultural labor Relations Board.

Ironically, this same group of people – Hispanic farm laborers – are the very demographic the Democratic Party is so eager to register to vote in local, state and national political elections. But when it comes to the farm workers not wanting to work under an oppressive union contract, state… Read More

Katy Grimes

On Independence Day, Gerawan Farming Gives Employees Raises

On the eve of the Independence Day, farm workers at Gerawan Farms received notice that their employer is proposing a wage increase to $11.00 per hour.

The minimum wage just went up to $9, July 1. In 2016, the wage will go up to $10 an hour.

While peach and table grape grower Gerawan Farming demonstrates its workers have the freedom to earn the highest industry wages, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and United Farm Workers labor union continue to deprive the workers of the right to choose.

The ALRB is steadfast in its effort to force a contract on the workers they obviously do not want. The workers knew the contents of that so-called contract when they voted on November 5 to decertify the UFW labor union. In the spirit of Independence Day, the ALRB should finally count the ballots and let freedom ring for the workers.

“Mr. Gerawan has always helped us,” said Silvia Lopez, a 16-year… Read More

Katy Grimes

Berkeley interferes in farmworkers’ campaign on behalf of UFW

On the heels of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board refusing to count thousands of ballots collected by farmworkers cast six months ago to decertify the United Farm Workerslabor union, the City of Berkeley has decided to weigh in on the contentious labor issue.

This is the same… Read More

Katy Grimes

Democrats To Farm Workers: Shut Up and Vote (for us)

Inone of the most significant labor relations fights in the country,California farm workers have made history again. But this fight is about trying to get their votes from a November election counted, in order to boot the farm labor union out of their place of business.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board has steadfastly refused to count the ballots from the Nov. decertification vote.

Ironically, this same group of people – Hispanic farm laborers – are the very demographic the Democratic Party is so eager to register to vote in local,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gerawan Farmworkers’ Get NADA from Latino Caucus

Gerawan Farming worker Silvia Lopez recently sent a letter to members of the California Legislative Latino Caucus, asking for help in her two-year fight with the Agricultural Labor Relations Boardand the United Farm WorkersUnion.

The ALRB has refused to count the thousands of ballots Lopez collected and her co-workers cast six months ago to decertify the UFWlabor union to end its representation.

But so far, the only sound coming from Latino legislators is the distinctive, quiet sound of nothing. Nada. Crickets.

Lopez, who is leading the effort for the workers, sent Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, Latino Caucus chairman, and each member of the Latino Caucus, a letter in English and Spanish. But Lopez got no response.

“Mr. Chavez once said, that it is ‘never about grapes or lettuce, it is always about people,’” Lopez wrote. “I believe that is true, and that is why I write to you.”

“I am writing on behalf… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB legal abuse — where’s legislative oversight?

The general counsel of the Agriculture Labor Relations Board went to court last week to impose a union contract on Gerawan Farming employees, without proper input from the farm workers, and without counting the ballots of a recent United Farm Workers union decertification election, held in November 2013.

The ALRB’s latest state-sponsored union bullying effort comes mere weeks after longtime Gerawan Farming employee, Silvia Lopez, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against ALRB board members and top staff, for their refusal to count the ballots from the November election.

Many in the farming community claim the ALRB and UFW have joined forces to boost the union by targeting one of the biggest non-union farming operations in the state. Should they succeed in unionizing Gerawan Farming employees, adding the 5,000 farmworkers would double union membership, and certainly boost the ALRB’s status.

This latest abusive overreach by the ALRB and its general counsel shows growing desperation in the trending anti-union sentiment in the private sector, and the vast agriculture industry of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Justice for Gerawan Farm Workers in the hands of Underhanded ALRB

One of the most significant labor relations fights in the country is currently taking place here in California. Proceedings have turned ugly, with many questioning the legal tactics and scruples of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

As the United Farm Workers labor union and the state Agricultural Labor Relations Boardhave found themselves on the brink of extinction and future irrelevance, they have joined forces to reverse their misfortune by targeting one of the biggest non-union farming operations in the state. Should they succeed in unionizing the 5,000 total Gerawan Farming employees, it would more than double union membership, and certainly boost the ALRB’s status.

The UFW won an election to represent Gerawan Farming’s workers 23 years ago. But after only one bargaining session, the union disappeared and wasn’t heard from for more than 20 years.

In October 2012, the union reappeared to impose a contract on Gerawan Farming and its employees — without a vote of the workers.

But the workers don’t want the union.

The wrangling with the United Farm Workers Union began again in October of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Anti-UFW farm workers seek help from Gov. Jerry Brown

Roll over, Cesar Chavez, here comes Silvia Lopez.

Silvia Lopez is a quiet, thoughtful 15-year Gerawan Farming employee, and the de facto leader of thousands of Central Valley farm workers who have been protesting for nearly a year to oust the United Farm Workers union from the farming company.

Seven hundred Gerawan farm workers took a day off without pay and descended on Sacramento Wednesday to attend a meeting at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Then they walked to the State Capitol to meet Gov. Jerry Brown.

Six of the farm workers tried to ask Brown to intervene with the ALRB to allow them to vote on whether to keep or oust the UFW from Gerawan Farming. “Jerry Brown, we want an election at Gerawan Farming,” Lopez said, as she approached the governor’s office.

While waiting in the Capitol hallway outside, one of Brown’s employees poked her head out and asked, “Are you guys with… Read More

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