UFW lobbyist & Shiroma campaigner Richie Ross: “Cheating is OK.”

“Because we’re teaching you about lobbying in this class, cheating is OK,” lobbyist Richie Ross told Sacramento State students. “Shortcuts.” Even though the veteran political operative was only making a quip, according to the Sacramento Bee reporter covering the class, Ross was illustrating one of his political trademarks: If you want to get your way, you can’t stoop too low. Ross’s longtime political and financial connections to ALRB board member Genevieve Shiroma have prompted calls for Shiroma to be disqualified from…

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Unions settle for $11 minimum wage in 2018, when Gerawan workers earned that in 2014

In a deal with Governor Jerry Brown, California unions have agreed to an $11 hourly minimum wage. But they agreed that their members will have to wait for their money until 2018. Non-union Gerawan workers have been earning that as their base pay since 2014. Details of the deal are still leaking out this night before Easter, and Governor Brown won’t have an official announcement until Monday. But here’s what we know from the Los Angeles Times: The unions are…

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Ag attorneys may move to vacate Shiroma’s decisions on ALRB

Prominent California agricultural attorneys have told the ALRB that they may move to vacate any decision that disgraced Board member Genevieve Shiroma makes in cases concerning the United Farm Workers (UFW). “As legal practitioners before the Board, who represent cases that come before the Board, it has been recently brought to our attention that it has been nearly three months since Petitioner Silvia Lopez filed a petition to disqualify Member Shiroma from participating in any decisions relating to the above-referenced…

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How the ALRB uses UFW agents to take false actions against critics

The ALRB is in a lot of trouble right now because of a whistleblower who came forward to expose corruption among the UFW loyalists on the board’s staff. Instead of coming clean, the ALRB has circled the wagons to hide information from the public. Since the exposure last year, the ALRB has been secretive and not responding to questions from reporters. It all reeks of a cover-up – and with fake UFW provocateurs in cahoots with its lawyers, it’s easy to…

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Farmworker demands probe of UFW unfair labor practices

The farmworker who has led the fight for her fellow laborers to have the right to vote on union representation is calling for a probe of the UFW’s unfair labor practices. Seldom is a union accused of unfair labor practices, but farmworker Silvia Lopez isn’t taking it any more. The San Joaquin Valley fruit farm laborer also alleges that the ALRB has silenced workers who oppose the UFW in order to protect the politically-connected union. “Part of the challenge for…

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Asleep on the job: Worker calls for ALRB’s snoozing Judge Soble to get the boot

ALRB’s administrative law judge is so inept that he falls asleep during hearings on which he renders judgments. A prominent San Joaquin Valley farmworker organizer has called for ALRB Judge Mark Soble to be disqualified because he uses hearings as times to take a catnap. Silvia Lopez has petitioned the ALRB to disqualify Soble from an upcoming hearing “because of his inability to stay awake during the six month trial that ended in March 2015.” At least 5 attorneys submitted…

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What ALRB could have done to help (with the $10 million it spent to fight us)

If the ALRB really wanted to help farmworkers, what could it have done with the $10.8 million it’s using to prevent our 2013 votes from being counted? Let’s take the farming community of Mecca, California, down in Riverside County. Instead of suppressing worker votes in the San Joaquin Valley, the ALRB could have spent the $10.8 million on any of the following in the Coachella Valley, around Mecca: Construction of more than 100 new homes (Approximate price of a construction of…

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ALRB spends 34% of its budget fighting Gerawan workers

The state agency founded to defend farmworkers is spending 34% of its ever-growing budget to prevent workers’ votes from being counted. That will have totaled about $10.8 million by next year. A recent study shows that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) will spend $3.3 million in 2016-17 to suppress Gerawan farmworkers’ votes to decertify the United Farm Workers union. (Download study: ALRB Budget Memo – February 2016) After gearing up to prevent the Gerawan workers from voting at all in…

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New report shows ALRB spending $10,000,000 to suppress Gerawan worker ballots

The ALRB is spending more than $10 million to suppress the ballots of 2,600 farmworkers who voted on whether to de-certify the United Farm Workers (UFW) as their representative. The workers at Gerawan Farming cast their ballots in 2013 in an ALRB-supervised election. ALRB immediately locked the ballots in a safe and has refused to count them. Word is that the ALRB is deciding to destroy the ballots in order to let the UFW save face. Here’s how a Sacramento…

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Does ALRB still have our ballots that it wants to destroy?

Nobody outside the ALRB knows whether the secretive government agency still has the more than 2,000 ballots we cast in 2013 on whether to de-certify the UFW. ALRB first tried to prevent the farmworkers from voting. Then it supervised our vote (forcing voters to show their ID). Then it took the ballots away. It locked them in a safe and nobody has seen them since. Maybe the ALRB is delaying a decision on whether to count or destroy our ballots…

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ALRB’s Paul Starkey expresses annoyance as farmworkers visit Sacramento

Farmworker leader Silvia Lopez led a small group to Sacramento to petition elected officials and visit the ALRB. During the February 29 visit, the farmworkers talked to lawmakers and ALRB staff. ALRB special counsel Paul Starkey expressed surprise and annoyance that the workers would dare to visit the secretive board’s fortified offices. The big issues: ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma’s conflicts of interests, and the expenditure of $10 million to suppress Gerawan farmworkers’ ballots to decertify the UFW. “We went to…

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Susan Sarandon debunks Dolores Huerta

Actress Susan Sarandon has taken on UFW warhorse Dolores Huerta, discrediting the once-influential labor figure in a series of social media comments. Farmworkers have criticized Huerta for being a has-been relic of an age long past, and for not standing up for the workers of today, who feel that the UFW is in cahoots with the ALRB. Many or most of today’s California farmworkers weren’t even alive when Huerta was an active union organizer. Wearing Hillary Clinton campaign bling at…

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Assemblywoman rips ALRB for “bias” and “corruption”

A state lawmaker representing California’s farming communities has ripped the Agricultural Labor Relations Board for being a biased and corrupt agency illegally in cahoots with the dying UFW. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove tore into the ALRB in a guest article for the Ridgecrest News-Review. Here are highlights of what she said: The UFW “had lost 90 percent of its membership and was bleeding money, so it set its sights on this employee group near Fresno” to force thousands of Gerawan workers…

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Lawmaker says ALRB’s Shiroma must step down for ‘unethical behavior’

ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma must be “removed” from the board because of “unethical behavior,” a California state lawmaker said today. At issue is what Assemblywoman Shannon Grove calls “Shiroma’s financial and political ties with the United Farm Workers (UFW), including $120,000 in consulting payments she made to the union’s lobbyist and former strike organizer, Richie Ross. Some of these political consulting payments were paid while Shiroma sat in judgement of a dispute between the UFW and San Joaquin farm workers.”…

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