Four years and not counting: ALRB still denies us voting rights

This week marks four years since the State of California denied thousands of farmworkers the voting rights that they are guaranteed under the law. It was this week in 2013 that the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) – after trying to prevent them from voting – finally supervised a vote among Gerawan farmworkers to de-certify the UFW as their organized labor representative. The workers made a huge turnout to cast ballots to get rid of the UFW as their…

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UFW and the State can’t silence us. We are the biggest farmworker protest ever.

What if the racists and machine politicians had silenced Martin Luther King and César Chávez? There would have been no civil rights movements for African-Americans and Latinos. That was then. In the 21st century, the machine politicians in Sacramento turned back the clock. They have been trying to silence the new farmworker movement in California. They are failing. This video tells part of our story of resistance to the corrupted and abusive United Farm Workers (UFW) and its unelected government…

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ALRB assistant general counsel Silas Shawver makes veiled threat to sue Pick Justice

One of the ALRB’s top lawyers has threatened to sue Pick Justice. Silas Shawver, the controversial UFW activist who is now ALRB assistant general counsel, made the veiled threat in a personal email to Pick Justice Chairman Jesse Rojas. In an email from his personal account, Shawver complained to Rojas that PickJustice.com said he was “fired in disgrace from ALRB in 2015 for misconduct.” “That statement is completely false,” Shawver said, claiming – while offering no evidence – that “I…

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New farmworkers reject UFW and start their own union

New farmworkers in the Western United States increasingly prefer to start their own union – or have no union at all – instead of joining the UFW. Presently, the UFW’s entire membership represents less than 1 percent of farmworkers in California alone. Almost nobody wants to join the UFW any more. “UFW has become lazy. UFW’s leaders are just milking the nostalgia for César Chávez from almost a half-century ago,” said Silvia Lopez of Pick Justice. “UFW doesn’t benefit the…

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Court says government can ban workers from meetings to force contracts on them

The State of California has the right to prevent farmworkers from observing government meetings where decisions are made to force contracts on them, a court has ruled. “The secretive Agricultural Labor Relations Board has the right to prevent us from observing while government officials and UFW operatives force an “agreement” on farmworkers while denying us the right to vote,” Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez said of the June 26 Fresno superior court decision. In a a news release, employer Gerawan…

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Brown axes Future Farmers & spends $10 million to attack farmworkers who don’t support him

Governor Jerry Brown used to stand up for the little guy. Now he’s de-funding important an entrepreneurial program to help kids become farmers, while spending $10 million on an agency that has put 2,500 Central Valley farmworkers out of work. All the while, Brown is siding with special interests like the UFW, which represents less than 1% of California farmworkers but rakes in a lot of guilt-and-nostalgia money for his political machine. Future Farmers of America (FFA) helps 469 California…

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Fresno County officially recognizes ALRB abuse of farmworkers

In a historic gesture of solidarity, the County of Fresno has officially recognizes that the ALRB has been abusing thousands of farmworkers. The County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation designating March 28, 2017 as “Dignity and Right for Valley Farmworkers Day.” Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez and other movement leaders joined the elected officials who signed the proclamation. This recognition, three days before César Chávez Day, reads like an indictment of the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The…

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New York Times looks at ‘collapse’ of California’s organized farmworker movement

California’s organized farm worker movement is in such a state of collapse that the New York Times has started to pay attention. The New York Times doesn’t blame the growers. In a remarkable article, it lays blame squarely on the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and its government protector, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The former ALRB chief, in turn, blames undocumented workers, who don’t want to organize in unions. To the obvious dismay of ALRB Chairman William Gould, who…

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Genevieve Shiroma, new ALRB chair, brings record of ethics problems & mismanagement

Instead of reaching outside ALRB for competent leadership, Governor Jerry Brown has promoted new mismanagement from within: Genevieve Shiroma. “I am absolutely an honorable person,” Shiroma insisted to the state Senate during her confirmation hearing for an unprecedented fourth term last summer. Not everybody agrees. Last spring, California Labor Secretary David Lanier agreed with a state audit that found the ALRB to be a wasteful, abusive, unaccountable organization. We reported that Lanier’s assessment was an indictment of scandal-plagued ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma.…

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ALRB Chairman Gould quits in ‘angry’ rage

The ALRB’s only respected member has quit in what the Los Angeles Times describes as an “angry letter” to Governor Jerry Brown. Adding insult to injury is that fact that ALRB Chairman William B. Gould IV, a Berkeley law professor emeritus and former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, made a show of resigning after his term had already expired, but while he remained until a replacement was confirmed. The other two ALRB board members, Genevieve Shiroma and Cathryn…

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ALRB’s conflicts of interest with UFW deepen with Shawver’s secret return

Silas Shawver Jumps For The UFW

The ALRB’s re-hiring of UFW militant Silas Shawver, after his mysterious “resignation” last year amid allegations of wrongdoing, shows that the state agency responsible for “helping” farmworkers remains in the hands of the politically favored union. UFW represents only 1 percent of California farmworkers. Yet with the ALRB’s collusion, the UFW can control the fates of the 99 percent who have opted not to join. ALRB secretly re-hired the disgraced Shawver in October, and promoted him to Deputy General Counsel.…

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We voted to de-certify the UFW 3 years ago today. ALRB still has our ballots.

Three years ago today, 2,400 of us Gerawan workers voted on whether to de-certify the United Farm Workers (UFW), which had abandoned us for 20 years. The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) supervised the entire process. But it didn’t like the results. So ALRB seized our ballots and stored them in a safe in the ALRB’s Visalia office, then run by UFW activist lawyer Silas Shawver. That was on November 5, 2013. Shawver was later fired under an ethics…

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ALRB secretly re-hires UFW militant Silas Shawver

The ALRB has quietly re-hired controversial UFW activist Silas Shawver as the scandal-plagued agency’s Deputy General Counsel. That seems to be a promotion from his previous post as Assistant General Counsel. Shawver left under a cloud in 2015. Not everyone inside California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board is happy about Shawver being back. And some are talking. Shawver drew fire after Pick Justice revealed his conflicts of interests on the ALRB as a UFW militant while serving as a member of…

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Shiroma’s secretive ALRB has no public events on its calendar

The secretive Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is in virtual shutdown since Genevieve Shiroma’s reappointment to the board last summer. At least in public. Despite ALRB’s doubled budget to go after the Gerawan farmworkers who challenged the UFW, nothing appears on ALRB’s public calendar. Earlier this year, state Labor Secretary David Lanier agreed with an audit that ripped ALRB for being a wasteful, abusive, unaccountable organization. Yet ALRB doesn’t seem to have learned anything. It keeps a paranoid silence. The…

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