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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

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

“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

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

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