A California Superior Court has found that the state official immediately responsible for blocking a count of farm workers’ votes has exceeded his authority, and says he suspects the official is “in cahoots.”
Judge Jeffrey Y. Hamilton, Jr., of the California Superior Court in Fresno, found on August 21 that Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) lawyer Silas Shawver committed an “overreach” of authority by denying workers the right for their votes to be counted.
“So the Court is very suspect of, one, the ALRB’s position here. It almost seems like it’s in cahoots,” said the judge.
Shawver had sought an injunction against Gerawan Farming, the employer of thousands of farm workers, that has been defending its workers from being forced to unionize against their will.
The matter surrounded the ALRB’s attempts to prevent or control the voting of thousands of Central Valley farm workers who want to decide whether or not to unionize.
Judge: Shawver’s injunction could also apply to UFW
In his ruling, Judge Hamilton said the Court agrees with the employer, Gerawan Farming, and “shares the concern that seems to be a bit of an overreach” on the part of Shawver and the ALRB.
Hamilton said that the type of injunction that Shawver was seeking might “also apply to the UFW who has a very visceral and political, currently, interest in winning this argument. They have a bill before the Senate that would give them rights in California that no other union enjoys, and they are campaigning hard to get those rights of which no other union would have such beneficial rights.”
CalWatchDog.com followed the story.
Judge says ‘ALRB seems to be pre-deciding election’
Judge Hamilton also said, “I am troubled by the ALRB’s comment that taint has already occurred in that they seem to be – the ALRB seems to be pre-deciding or has presupposed to any election, none of which I have any evidence that has even occurred or a request of an election on decertification has occurred; that it would be a futility because the ALRB’s position is it’s already tainted.”
Court is ‘very suspect of ALRB position . . . It almost seems like it’s in cahoots’
“So the Court is very suspect of, one, the ALRB’s position here. It almost seems like it’s in cahoots,” the judge continued. “And the Court finds it very troubling that the ALRB is taking such a position, especially sitting in a prosecutorial role. That is a role you should not be taking when you sit as a prosecutor.”
Judge agrees with Gerawan that ALRB is being unjustly biased
“The Counsel for Gerawan is correct: You have a responsibility, unlike an advocate for one side, to bring out all of the evidence, not just evidence that is supportive of the UFW,” said Judge Hamilton.
“And it appears to the Court that’s what you’re doing. So perhaps I’m wrong, and you can explain to me how you’re actually being extremely fair to both sides, because what the Court’s concern is is to the employee, not to Gerawan, not to the UFW.”
Shawver meekly replied, “And that’s also our concern, Your Honor.”
The judge didn’t seem to believe Shawver: “Well, I need you to show me that because right now it doesn’t look like that. It seems like the ALRB is looking to curtail any comment or activity by Gerawan . . . .”