California Ag Today is on part 4 of a revealing series of articles called “Who Safeguards CA Farm Workers’ Rights?”
The answer, according to the article, is that the state agency empowered to protect farmworkers’ rights isn’t doing its job at all.
The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), created in 1975, has become an artificial life support system for the dying United Farm Workers (UFW).
Under years of attack as a government enforcement arm for the UFW, the ALRB faced an opening when its chairman, William B. Gould IV, resigned in disgust early in 2017. California Ag Today reviews what happened. There was no statewide search for a new member of the three-person panel.
Instead, the political machine moved ahead to provide a full-time salary to a defeated city politician and ally of UFW and the governor:
In place of conducting outreach to all affected stakeholders, including agriculture, ‘in a matter of 48 hours, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a termed-out state senator and failed congressional candidate who has no labor law background whatsoever but with strong ties to the UFW.’
Hall’s UFW ties were listed as ‘financial support by the UFW, personal ties with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and raising the union banner while marching with the UFW. While a state senator, Hall was the principal co-author of two UFW-sponsored bills and voted in favor of two other bills that would make it easier to force ALRB-written contracts on farmers and workers. These close ties should disqualify him from the position where he will judge UFW issues almost daily.’
‘No doubt’ that Gerawan workers don’t want UFW
The article saw through the ALRB’s refusal to count the Gerawan workers’ votes as a clear sign of UFW enforcement:
‘There is no denying that the ALRB’s recent decision to prevent the disclosure of the November 2013 election results, from the high-profile decertification fiasco of Gerawan Farming of Fresno was to cover up the fact that most farm workers don’t want to unionize.’
‘Today, California farm workers are protected by the strictest labor laws in the nation, and they decline to unionize because they value a good employer over a union. Brown should recognize this and rewrite the ALRA to guarantee employer representation on the board. California farmers deserve better than a lopsided Agricultural Labor Relations Board.’
See the full series
California Ag Today‘s four-part series on “Who Safeguards CA Farm Workers’ Rights?” by Laurie Greene is available here: