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Katy Grimes

Gerawan Farming files constitutional challenge against ALRB

Gerawan Farming is fed up.

On Dec. 16, the Gerawan Farming company filed aconstitutional challengeagainst the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, with the United Farm Workers of America as a “Real Party of Interest.” It was filed with the California Court of Appeal, Fifth District in Fresno, against the ALRB’s invocation of theCalifornia’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Statute. The statute wassigned into law by Gov. Gray Davis in 2002.

This was part of wrangling with the United Farm Workers Union that began in Oct. 2012, when the union insisted that a collective… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Fish and Game Commissioner accused of conflict of interest

One of the most controversial bills passed this year by the California Legislature wasAssembly Bill 711, by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-South Gate. Beginning in 2019, it bans lead bullets for hunting, supposedly to save the California Condor population.

Since Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on Oct. 11, a potential conflict of interest has arisen.

Mike Sutton, the commissioner of theCalifornia Fish and Game Commission, will be implementing the legislation. But heis also the paiddirector of Audubon California,one ofRead More

Katy Grimes

EDD computers must be fixed by Dec. 31 – Part ll

This is Part 2 of a series on the EDD. Part 1, an interview with Spokesman Dan Stephens, ishere.

Just after the Labor Day weekend, the California Employment Development Department released a $100 million computer upgrade. Itcrashed.

Without warning,150,000 joblessCalifornians were cut from unemployment benefits. The EDD blamed a computer glitch and said it would take weeks to fix.

November hearings in the Legislature produced promises to fix the system. In response,Henry Perea, D-Fresno, the chairman of the Insurance Committee, senta letterto EDD Director Hilliard demanding fixes by Dec. 31. Perea identified five… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB Part ll: Background on ALRB Chair Shiroma

This series reports on the backgrounds of the board members and officials ofthe ALRB. Part 1 ishere.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board is made up of five members, the board was created when the Agricultural Labor Relations Act was signed into law in June 1975 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

With two vacancies, the board currently hasthree members:

* Chairwoman Genevieve A. Shiroma, who has served on the board since 1999, was appointed by Gov.… Read More

Katy Grimes

Strikes for higher minimum wage hit CA, USA

Anti-Walmart protestsstruck across Californiaand the rest of America on Black Friday. The protesters demanded that the giant retailer pay its worker higher wages and benefits.

As part of the protests, Robert Reich is pushing apetitionon Facebook. The former secretary of labor… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA still worst run state in nation; Sacramento not far behind

For the third year in a row, California has been named the worst-run state in America, by 24/7 Wall Street. Is it any wonder? With at least10 Californiacitieson the verge of municipal bankruptcy, a $24 billion budget shortfall in 2012, including a mid-year shortfall of $930 million and $8.2 billion carried over from the year before, California is a mess.

“California carries an A credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, and an A1 from Moody’s — both worse than any other state except for Illinois. Explaining its rating, Moody’s pointed to the state’s history of one-time solutions to resolve its budgetary gaps,” 24/7 Wall Street reported inThe Best andRead More

Katy Grimes

Vidak warns: Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

The California Department of Water Resources announced this week that the Central Valley may only get five percent of the water it needs next year.

The Central Valley, the heart of California,is the state’s top agricultural producing region, often called “the nation’s salad bowl” for the great array of fruits and vegetables grown in its rich soil.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of theRime of the Ancient Mariner, wasn’t thinking about California’s Central Valley when he wrote:

Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

However, if the water resources department gets its way, the Central Valley may as well get used to this poem.

I talked withRead 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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