ALRB judge rules against workers, says ballots should not be counted

ALRB Judge Mark Soble has issued his long-anticipated decision on whether to count the Gerawan workers’ ballots cast in 2013 to decertify the United Farm Workers (UFW union. His decision was to prevent the workers’ votes from being counted. What follows is an official statement from the workers’ employer, Gerawan Farming. Gerawan Responds to ALJ Ruling to Destroy Farmworker Ballots FRESNO, CA, September 18, 2015 – Gerawan Farming issued the following statement in response to a ruling yesterday by Agricultural Labor…

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Former ALRB judge called present ALRB lawyer Arciniega a ‘union agent’

A legal activist once described by an ALRB judge as a “union agent” is now a top ALRB attorney. “And with the recent shakeups in the ALRB general counsel’s office that resulted in the sackings and sudden resignations of top lawyers, people are wondering why Arciniega remains on the job,” Katy Grimes writes in Flash Report. “The lawyer has come a long way since getting her law degree as an ‘apprentice’ of longtime UFW lawyer Barbara Macri-Ortiz, who in fact…

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Legal magazine shows ALRB compensates for UFW’s lazy organizing

The UFW and ALRB are in a mess of their own making, and the fightback they’ve been getting from growers and anti-union workers has threatened the legacy of ALRB Chairman William B. Gould IV. Hiding behind an in-house attorney, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez refused to give an interview with California Lawyer for the story. Farmer Dan Gerawan spoke freely to the legal publication, despite pending litigation. So did ALRB Chairman Gould, who previously rebuffed reporters’ questions about Gerawan, citing pending litigation.…

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Allegations of bias dog Silas Shawver as he leaves ALRB

As Silas Shawver leaves the ALRB under a cloud – following the sacking of his boss, Sylvia Torres-Guillen – continued allegations of bias continue to mount. An exchange of correspondence between labor attorney Paul J. Bauer and Shawver show a hailstorm of acrimony – and a pile of carefully organized evidence that remove all doubt about Shawver’s potentially illegal bias in favor of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. The original correspondence takes up six pages (available here Bauer letter to…

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Silas Shawver leaves ALRB under a cloud

Silas Shawver, the union activist who led efforts in the San Joaquin Valley to battle farmworkers who didn’t want to be forced to join the UFW, is out at the ALRB. Word on social media is that Shawver has found a new job at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). According to its website, “In 1980, the DFEH was established as an independent department charged with enforcing California’s comprehensive employment, housing, public accommodations and public service non-discrimination…

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LA Times reports that Gov Brown fired Torres-Guillen over UFW/Gerawan case

Although she denied it on the record elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times reports that disgraced former ALRB general counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen was fired from her job over her abuse of power in fighting against Gerawan farm workers. The pro-UFW lawyer found herself at odds with ALRB Chairman William B. Gould IV, an internationally respected labor lawyer and scholar. Torres-Guillen and her staff tried to prevent Gerawan farmworkers from voting to decertify the UFW in 2013, were overruled by the board,…

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Fresno Bee runs page-one story on ALRB bias toward union

In a landmark development, the Fresno Bee has run a page-one story about ALRB bias toward the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. The story is important because it shows that bias complaints against ALRB go beyond Gerawan Farming and the farmworkers – and because of the many questions that ALRB refused to answer. Just as PickJustice.com has been saying, the controversy centers on disgraced ALRB general counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen, who was removed from office suddenly last June. However, the Fresno Bee…

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ALRB seen as ‘out of control’ bureaucracy with ‘ballooning’ budget

The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board is “out of control,” whose “ballooning” budget and staff, is driven by a drive to force Gerawan farmworkers to join the United Farm Workers. That’s what a California state assemblyman and others tell the Fresno Bee in a front-page story about the ALRB’s bias toward the union. Here are some of the highlights: Former ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen was the prime engine behind a 90% hike in the ALRB budget to go after Gerawan Farming and its farmworkers who…

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ALRB’s acting general counsel chooses his words very carefully

The interim replacement for disgraced former ALRB general counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen won’t defend his predecessor to journalists – but he won’t exactly say that the ALRB is in fact impartial as the law requires. When the Fresno Bee asked Mark Woo-Sam, ALRB Acting General Counsel, if his state agency was in fact acting impartially as required by state law, Woo-Sam didn’t say yes or no. Instead, Woo-Sam cited what the law requires, and then said that the ALRB takes that…

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Los Angeles Times shows 18 years of nothing from UFW, until ALRB helps

The Los Angeles Times has published a major story that lends credence to growing concerns that the ALRB is “in cahoots” with the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. The UFW “effectively disappeared” for 18 years until the state tried to impose a state-mandated contract that would take 3 percent of the workers’ gross pay and give it to the union. The July 30 article profiles San Joaquin Valley peach grower Dan Gerawan and his family’s multimillion-dollar legal defenses against the…

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Is ALRB impartial? This video tells who’s who

Jessica Arciniega Alegria De La Cruz and Silas Shawver are in Cahoots at the ALRB

Key members of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) staff have a revolving door relationship with the United Farmworkers (UFW) union. Their bias is in direct violation of state law, which requires the ALRB to be impartial. These revolving-door staff lawyers have been major players in the controversial, expensive, and possibly illegal ALRB prevention of farmworkers from having their votes counted to decertify the UFW. These cronies move between the union and the state agency taking care of union…

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Passing the torch: Latina farmworkers Huerta and Lopez meet

Gerawan farmworkers asked UFW icon Dolores Huerta for help in getting Governor Jerry Brown to have the ALRB count their votes. After some discussion, the civil rights leader and Gerawan farmworker leader Silvia Lopez stood together with Governor Brown. That day, June 24, 2015, was a historic day for Latina farmworkers in California. Just hours earlier, Brown had quietly fired ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen, who had been one of the top officials responsible for trying to prevent the farmworkers…

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Governor Brown fires Sylvia Torres-Guillen

In a surprise move on the 40th anniversary of the ALRB, Governor Jerry Brown fired Sylvia Torres-Guillen as ALRB general counsel. Without fanfare, Brown removed the controversial lawyer from her ALRB post and transferred her to a duty without portfolio in his sprawling personal office. Torres-Guillen was responsible for spending millions of tax dollars to prevent Gerawan farmworkers from having their ballots counted. The workers are still waiting for ALRB Judge Mark Soble, who works for the Office of General…

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Governor Brown introduces Latina farmworkers, past and future

As if shepherding the transition between the old and the new, California Governor Jerry Brown introduced UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta to the face of 21st century farmworkers: Silvia Lopez. At the festive Sacramento gala marking the 40th anniversary of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Governor Brown recognized the 39 year-old Gerawan farmworker, calling her “the famous Silvia Lopez.” Brown posed with 85 year-old Huerta – a giant in the farmworker movement – and Lopez for what he must have sensed…

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