CA farmworkers feel bullied by ALRB

BulliesCalifornia farmworkers say that they are being bullied when they try to vote on whether or not to be represented by organized labor unions.

“At their best, labor unions are something simple: they bring employees who share the same workplace into a collaborative relationship – independent not only of management, but also of any outside supervisors,” James Poulos writes in the Daily Beast.

“At their worst, unions aren’t bottom-up organizations. They are, in effect, a new set of rules imposed unilaterally from above. Rather than helplessly obeying the dictates of management, workers are obliged to do what union bosses tell them. Even if employees actually share a close working relationship with their employers, that affinity and the agreements it produced are cast aside,” Poulos continues.

California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is working to force thousands of workers to submit to union bosses against their will. The farmworkers feel bullied.

ALRB’s website says the board’s duty is to conduct “elections to determine whether a majority of the employees of an agricultural employer wishes to be represented by a labor organization, whether they wish to continue to be represented by that labor organization, a rival labor organization or no labor organization at all.”

However, as Poulos explains, ALRB is in fact working with a favored labor union to coerce farm workers to join, and to pay the union 3 percent of their income.

“Under California law, the ALRB can do extraordinary things,” says Poulos. “Foremost among them, it can authorize an arbitrator to singlehandedly write a labor contract and enforce it, imposing terms on employers and employees alike.”

When workers at Gerawan Farming in the Central Valley held a vote in late 2013, the ALRB impounded the ballots and approved a unionization contract that a state-funded “arbitrator” drafted.

In response. Gerawan workers filed a lawsuit against the ALRB, “claiming that their civil rights had been violated, and asking that their ballots be unsealed and counted.”

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