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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

Whistleblower at ALRB Exposes Manipulated Evidence Against Gerawan Farming

State superior court delivers a stunning rebuke to Agricultural Labor Relations Board’sTop Staff Attorney Sylvia Torres Guillén, citing “deficiencies in its investigation” and staff “embroilment” in worker termination.

An employee whistleblower at the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board has exposed wrongdoing by the activist attorneys in the state agency responsible for protecting the rights of farmworkers. The charges, made by an insider who participated in an ALRB investigation of Gerawan Farming, were brought directly to the office of the Board’s chairman, William B. Gould IV. The whistleblower employee alleges that the ALRB General Counsel and staff submitted false or misleading sworn statements to the Board in order to get agency authorization to file enforcement proceedings against Gerawan.

These charges could reveal the extent to which theGeneral Counsel TorresGuillénand staff manipulated evidence in administrative and legal proceedings in order to tip the scales – even perhaps illegally – in favor of the United Farm Workers.

The ALRB General Counsel’s… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB Won’t Investigate UFW Organizer’s Confession Of Lie Under Orders To Influence Union Decertification Vote

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board is responsible for investigating unfair labor practices in California. However, despite knowing that a former United Farm Workers labor union organizer testified that UFW leadership instructed him to lie to farmworkers, and instructed him to coerce farmworkers to lie in written statements submitted to the ALRB, the state agency has decided not to investigate.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board decision provides even more evidence that the agency is collaborating with the UFW in violation of state law. According to the law, the ALRB must serve farmworkers’ interests by being impartial between unions and employers. Instead, the state agency is ignoring the evidence that the United Farm Workers labor union orchestrated a disinformation campaign to influence the ALRB – even with a former UFW organizer’s sworn confession that the union leadership had trained and instructed him to organize a campaign of lies.

The former UFW organizer who confessed to the… Read More

Katy Grimes

UFW Organizer Coached Witnesses To Lie On Orders From Union Leadership

A former United Farm Workers labor union organizer has testified that UFW leadership instructed him to lie to farmworkers, and instructed him how to coerce farmworkers to lie in written statements submitted to a state board as official evidence.

This latest explosive news in the Gerawan Farming workers’ fight to oust the UFW shines more sunlight on the conspiracy inside the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and particularly on its office of general counsel, and the close relationship with the UFW. The ALRB general counsel’s office has been accused of blatant bias in favor of the UFW under its present chief, Sylvia Torres-Guillén.

Lies, Lies and More Lies

The ALRB used lies manufactured by the UFW labor union to put a halt to the Gerawan farm workers’ efforts to de-certify the UFW as their collective bargaining representative. Gerawan Farming is one of California’s largest fruit farms.

The disinformation campaign allegedly was part of the UFW’s efforts to discredit Gerawan Farming, as well as the Gerawan workers leading the de-certification campaign.

The UFW lies and… 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