Transcript: Senator de Leon denied translations of farmworkers’ statements

Senator Kevin de Leon is a major booster of the UFW. He would not allow farmworkers critical of UFW to have translators before the state Senate.

Senator Kevin de Leon is a major booster of the UFW. He would not allow farmworkers critical of UFW to have translators before the state Senate.

Senate President Kevin de Leon prevented farmworkers who disagreed with him from having their comments translated from Spanish to English.

The incident occurred at the June 20 Senate confirmation hearing for Genevieve Shiroma, the controversial ALRB member who is up for yet another term on the embattled state board.

Nobody attended to speak to senators on Shiroma’s behalf. But scores of farmworkers jammed the Capitol to ask the Senate NOT to confirm the disgraced ALRB member.

De Leon would not allow translation of the farmworkers’ pleas to lawmakers. Here is the transcript of that portion of the hearing. Later translations are provided in italics. Key portions appear in bold.

Senator De Leon prevents farmworkers from having their statements translated

Senator De Leon: “Next witness in opposition, next witness in opposition.”

Anthony Raimondo, attorney for farmworkers: “I’m going to defer to the workers in case we don’t have time.”

Senator De Leon: “Fantastic.”

Raimondo: “I would rather have them be heard than I.”

Senator De Leon: “OK so let’s have the workers. Thank you very much.”

Jesse Rojas: “If you don’t mind Senator De Leon, I’ll do 30 seconds each an d I’ll translate or do you want them to just say it in Spanish? It’s up to you.”

Senator De Leon: “Ahhhh. Let me ask.”

Jesse Rojas: “I’ll limit them to 30 seconds.”

Senator De Leon: “Uhh let me ask for the members. What’s the members’ pleasure?”

Voice 4: [Unintelligible Multiple committee members speaking at once]

Voice 1: “Translation? OK.”

Voice 5: [Unintelligible Multiple committee members speaking at once]

Voice 1: “You can’t? … Yeah, she won’t be able to take it down. They can say… but if the members do want to hear the translation… but I… be mindful do not add… you know… anything else… yeah, because I know…”

Jesse Rojas: “You’ll be able to know right?”

Senator De Leon: “Yeah, yeah.”

[name redacted]: “Mi nombre es [name redacted] y yo estoy en contra Shiroma porque todo este tiempo que hemos estado haciendo protestas en grande, siempre se nos ha negado la ayuda de ellos. Se ha mirado mucha corrupción de parte de su, de labores agrícola. Y siempre nos sentimos intimidados. CensuradoPorque siempre cuando comenzamos las protestas no nos atendían. Nos sentimos humillados y discriminados porque de primero, cuando comenzamos no nos hacían caso. Y ahora que todo el tiempo dicen ellos que somos unos ignorantes por pelear nuestros derechos.” [Later translation: “My name is (name redacted) and I’m against Shiroma because this whole time that we’ve been doing large protests, they have always denied us their help. A lot of corruption has been seen by their, by the agriculture labor. And we always feel intimidated, because when we started the protests they would not help us. We feel humiliated and discriminated because at first, when we started they were ignoring us. And now this whole time they’ve been saying that we are ignorant for fighting for our rights.”]

Senator De Leon: “Muchas gracias, gracias.”

Jesse Rojas: “You don’t need me to translate, right?”

Senator De Leon: “Yeah, you know. Colleagues…”

Jesse Rojas: “You understand, right?”

Senator De Leon: “The essence is because if we do…we make sure everyone is heard. It’s going to be double translation, and it’s just double the time.”

Jesse Rojas: “I’ll tell them to do it fast.”

[name redacted]: “Buenas tardes, mi nombre es [name redacted]. Yo estoy aquí porque estoy en contra de la Señora Shiroma. Porque en primer lugar no quiere contar nuestros votos. Sentimos que está más a favor de la UFW que de nosotros. Y nosotros somos sus trabajadores del campo. Y le echamos ganas. Y no queremos que nos quiten el tres por ciento para nada. Entonces ella no nos ha hecho nada de apoyo, nada. Queremos que, que la cambien o no la queremos que esté enfrente de la [unintelligible]. OK, gracias.”  [Later translation: Good afternoon, my name is (name redacted). I’m here because I’m against Mrs. Shiroma because first of all, she does not want to count our votes. We feel that she is more infavor of the UFW than us. And we are her/their farm laborers and we work hard. We do not want them taking the 3% at all. So then she has not supported us, not at all. We want her to be replaced or we don’t want her to be in front of (unintelligible). OK, thank you.”]

Senator Berryhill wanted to understand what the farmworkers were saying in Spanish, but Senator de Leon wouldn't allow a translator.

Senator Berryhill wanted to understand what the farmworkers were saying in Spanish, but Senator de Leon wouldn’t allow a translator.

Senator De Leon: “Muchas gracias, gracias. Next witness in support.”

Senator Berryhill: “I kind of would like to know what they are saying.”

Senator De Leon: “Ok, well we can have, we can have … we’ll give a summary. Yes, I’ll give you that summary, yeah, yeah.”

[name redacted]: “Buenas tardes mi nombre es [name redacted]. Aqui vengo delante de la Señora Shiroma. Una vez yo tuve una plática con ella donde ella me dijo que yo tenía mis derechos para defenderlos. Si yo quería unión, iba a entrar unión. Iba haber votación. Hicimos las votaciones. Ellos no han hecho nada. Ahora yo le traigo este contrato. Este es un contrato que ella nos quería imponer, nos quiere imponer la unión. Aquí hay discriminación. Quiero que me diga ella, ¿por qué vamos a discriminar? Estamos en un país que no hay discriminación. Nosotros somos trabajadores, realmente legales. Yo tengo siete años trabajando en esta compañía. Y no he visto ahí ninguna, ninguna, mal en mi contra. Hemos peleado mucho con la ley laboral, con la unión, no nos han hecho caso. Yo creo que la Señora Shiroma es una, es incompetente, es, ha sido incapaz de resolver nuestro problema porque ya van como más de tres años que hemos estado peleando y luchas y luchas y luchas y no ha hecho nada por nosotros. ) [Later translation: Good afternoon, my name is [name redacted]. I come here before Mrs. Shiroma. On one occasion I had a conversation with her in which she told me that I had rights to defend them and that if I wanted the union, the union would come in. There would be voting. We did the votes and they have not done anything. I’m now bringing this contract. This is a contract wanted to impose on us, she wants to impose the union on us. There is discrimination here. I want her to tell me, why are we going to discriminate? We live in a country that does not discriminate. We are workers, truly legal. I’ve been working for this company for 7 years and I haven’t seen any, anything bad against me. We’ve been fighting a lot with the labor law, with the union. They ignore us. I believe that Mrs. Shiroma is incompetent, she has been incapable of resolving our problem because it has been more than 3 years that we’ve been fighting and fighting, fighting, fighting and she hasn’t done a thing for us.”]

Senator De Leon: “OK, gracias, gracias señora. Adelante, por favor, gracias.” [Translation: OK, thank you, thank you ma’am. Go ahead, please, thank you.”]

[name redacted]: “Yo me llamo [name redacted]. Yo lo que quiero es que cuenten los votos de los trabajadores que trabajamos ahí en Gerawan. Porque yo creo que a nadie se nos ha obligado a trabajar ahí. Todos trabajamos ahí porque nos gusta trabajar ahí. Y este, hubo una votación, que hasta ahorita, desde el día de la votación un miembro de ahí, de la ley laboral, cuando votamos dijo van a votar, pero sus votos no van a ser contados. Nos lo dijo, o sea nos lo dijo desde ese momento. Entonces dijo que se supone que ellos están para, la ley labor está para apoyarnos. Entonces, ¿porqué no lo han hecho? Yo lo que quiero que los votos se cuenten. Que nos den el derecho a elegir lo que queremos.” [Later translation: “My name is [name redacted]. What I want is that they count the votes of the workers that work there at Gerawan. Because I believe that no one has been forced to work there. We all work there because we all like to work there. And there was a voting and up to this time, since the day of voting a labor law member told us when we voted, you are going to vote but your votes will not be counted. He told us, that supposedly they are there, the ALRB is there to support us. So then why haven’t they done that? What I want is for the votes to be counted. To be given the right to choose what we want.”]

Senator De Leon: “OK.”

Senator De Leon: “Muchas gracias señora, gracias.”

Voice 1: “Adelante.” [Translation: “Go ahead.”]

[name redacted]: “Buenas tardes mi nombre es [name redacted]. [Later translation: Good afternoon (good evening) my name is [name redacted].”]

Senator De Leon: “Buenas tardes.” 

[name redacted]: “Vengo aca (unintelligible) de la señora Shiroma, lo mismo que mis compañeros. Estoy trabajando en la compania desde el 2002. Siempre hemos querido apoyo. Nos sentimos defraudados de parte de la [unintelligible] laboral. En 2015, Septiembre 9 fuimos a una sesión en un hotel donde estaba la unión de campesinos, la ley laboral. Y le dijeron al de seguridad Farm Workers que los de camisetas azules no los dejaran entrar, nada más a los de camiseta rojas. Entonces, ahí, ¿que nos da a pensar? Que no tenemos e l apoyo necesario. Esa es una. Otra de las cosas, no sé por qué no quieren abrir los votos. Pienso que nosotros somos libres de eligir si queremos una unión o no que nos represente. . ¿Qué? No se. ¿Qué es el temor? Que, ¿por qué? Dijeron que iba haber votación. Se his la votación y los votos no se han contado. Entonces, venimos a, o sea, estamos en contra de ella por muchas cosas que nos sentimos defraudados.”  [Later translation: “I come over here (unintelligible) Mrs. Shiroma, just like my co-workers. I’ve been working for the company since 2002. We have always wanted support. We  feel cheated on the part of the (unintelligible) labor. On September 9, (2015) we went to a session at a hotel and the farm labor union was there and the ALRB (United Farm Workers?), and they told the security guard to not allow anyone with blue shirts to come in only the ones with red shirts. So, what do we make of that? That we do not have the necessary support. That is one thing. Another thing is that I don’t know why they do not want to open the votes. I believe that we are free to choose if we want a union to represent us or not. What? I don’t know. What is the fear? Or what, why? They told us there would be a voting and there was voting, but the votes have not, have not been counted. So then, we come, that is, we are against her, for many things, we feel cheated.”]

Senator De Leon: “Bueno, gracias, muchas gracias.”

[name redacted]: “Buenas tardes, mi nombre es [name redacted]. Yo vengo a oponerme de la Señora Shiroma que hagan un cambio por ella, por favor. Porque no nos está ayudando para nada.” [Later translation: “Good afternoon, my name is [name redacted]. I came to oppose Mrs. Shiroma. If you could please replace her. Because she is not helping us at all.”]

Senator De Leon: “OK, gracias, muchas gracias.”

Jesse Rojas: “If I may something, add something real quick on the record.”

Senator De Leon: “What I’ll do I’ll give you…”

Voice 3: “30 seconds.”

Senator De Leon: “30 seconds to uhm, there’s a lot of adjectives there, obviously, I’ll give you 30 seconds to summarize -“

End of transcript.

 

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