Judge again says ALRB and UFW colluded on litigation strategy

ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres Guillen, with the UFW leadership, celebrates the union's 50th anniversary at a May 2012 event.

ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres Guillen, with the UFW leadership, celebrates the union’s 50th anniversary at a May 2012 event.

The ALRB Office of General Counsel and Regional Director colluded with the UFW during the case against Gerawan farmworkers seeking to de-certify the UFW, the ALRB’s own administrative jaw judge has found.

“[T]he record should make clear, should the General Counsel and UFW attempt to characterize their litigation strategy as completely independent, that portrayal would be inaccurate,” ALRB administrative law Judge Mark R. Soble said.

Soble’s comments are buried in a footnote at the bottom of page 164 of the ALRB ruling to destroy the workers’ ballots.

Here is Soble’s statement:

I have serious reservations regarding a Regional Director serving as the General Counsel’s lead prosecutor in an election matter. Pursuant to ALRB Regulation section 20370, subdivision (c), a Regional Director may participate in an investigative hearing to the extent necessary to ensure that the evidentiary hearing is fully developed. In the case of a consolidated election case, the election objections and unfair labor practice allegations are often inextricably intertwined. By assuming the ‘hat’ as the General Counsel’s lead prosecutor in a consolidated election case, the Regional Director may simultaneously become an unadulterated advocate for one side over the other as to the election objections, which then undermines the Regional Director’s ability to be persuasive as a potential percipient witness. I will further note that, throughout the hearing, ALRB regional attorneys and UFW counsel would often pass post-it notes back and forth to one another. Regional attorneys and UFW counsel would also sometimes huddle during short breaks in the testimony. I am certainly not suggesting that this collaboration is inherently inappropriate in all instances when you have a government prosecutor and a charging party. However, the record should make clear, should the General Counsel and UFW attempt to characterize their litigation strategy as completely independent, that portrayal would be inaccurate.

In that same ruling, Soble called UFW National Vice President Armando Elenes a liar. Soble stated that Elenes was “lying” to cover up the “smallness” of the UFW membership.

See the text of the full document Lupe Garcia Lawsuit 2016-04-15 Gerawan Farming Decision and Order 42 ALRB 1

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