Employer Gerawan encourages workers to fight for their rights

It isn’t often in California that an employer encourages workers to fight for their rights.

But that’s what Dan Gerawan did two weeks ago.

California Ag Today, an industry publication, got a transcript of Gerawan’s statement to workers after the November state Supreme Court decision affirming State power to coerce workers into a contract from a politically favored union.

Importantly, the Supreme Court did uphold the right of farmworkers to choose their union, or choose whether they want a union at all.

Gerawan is President of Gerawan Farming, the largest stone fruit producer in America. He recorded a statement in Spanish to his employees to hear when they called in to hear their November 27 work schedules. Gerawan encouraged the workers to stand up for the rights they still have. He said they should pressure the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) to count the votes the workers cast four years ago to de-certify the UFW.

California Ag Today published an English translation of Gerawan’s statement to employees:

Hi, this is Dan Gerawan.

Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court today decided to overturn the lower court that had said you should have the right to choose whether a contract is forced on you. Instead, the California Supreme Court agreed with UFW and ALRB that you should not have the right to choose, even though you have to pay UFW.

Fortunately, today’s decision does not strip your right to decide whether the UFW can represent you. The majority of you asked for the right to make that decision, and the ALRB held a decertification election over four years ago.

Nothing in today’s court decision prevents your ballots from being counted. As you may know, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal is still going to decide whether your votes from the November 2013 election will be counted.

You are entitled to the same dignity and respect that all other workers in our state and country have, which is the right to choose who represents you.

As for today’s decision, we intend to ask the United States Supreme Court to review it.

Thank you for listening.

“We believe that coerced contracts are constitutionally at odds with free choice,” said David A. Schwarz, who represented Gerawan before the Supreme Court. “The employees are entitled to the dignity and respect that they earned by giving them what is their right. A secret ballot election allows them to decide for themselves who will speak for them at the bargaining table.”

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