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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Shock and Awe! Gov. Brown Vetoes UFW-Backed Bill

Roll over Cesar Chavez —In a surprise move, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a UFW labor union backed bill.

Backed by the United Farm Workerslabor union and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Senate Bill 25 would have allowed the UFW to force a farm employer into mandatory mediation at any time.

This very bad bill would have put California farm workers under the state’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation law. Under that law, the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board could… Read More

Katy Grimes

Labor Unions Swindle Workers and Shakedown Employers

Labor unions are bad for workers and employers. But sometimes the good guys prevail.

The lawsuit filed by a Fresno farmworker against members of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board alleging civil rights violations will move forward to trial, a federal judge just ruled last week.

In February of this year, Gerawan Farming worker Silvia Lopez sued the gubernatorial appointees and regional staff of the ALRB alleging that their refusal to count the Gerawan farmworkers’ decertification votes violated her 1st and 14th Amendment rights.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board says it exists to protect the rights of all agricultural employees, including those not wanting labor organization representation, as is the case with Gerawan Farming employees. However, Gerawan farming employees say they have not received any assistance from the ALRB.

Whenever they can, labor unions historically try to gain control over entry into the labor market. “Such measures… 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

What’s good for union is bad for laborer’s civil rights

Many have recently observed there appears to be collusion between the United Farm Workers union and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, in an effort to boost the shrinking labor 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 Gerawan farmworkers would more than double union membership, and certainly boost the UFW’s economic status, and the ALRB’s worth to the state.

Conundrum

Several thousand-farm workers in California’s Central Valley have so far failed to get the state agriculture labor board to count their votes on a standard, legal labor union issue.

Why? Because the vote the farm workers took was to de-certify the United Farm… 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

Farm workers fighting UFW unionization

The United Farm Workers labor union and the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board have found themselves on the brink of ruination and even irrelevance.

The labor union boasted 50,000 members by the end of the 1970s. But according to the UFW’s last Labor Organization Annual Report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, as of Dec. 31, 2012 the union had only 4,443 members. So it has declined by more than 90 percent. By contrast, today the California Teachers Association lists 325,000 members.

In order to breathe new life into the union, many in the farming community claim the ALRB and UFW appear to have joined forces to reverse their misfortune by targeting one… Read More

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