UFW sexism and homophobia drove lesbian organizer out of union

Many union organizers have objected to the United Farm Workers’ old-boy network that they say marginalizes women, indigenous people, and political progressives. They’ve kept their complaints quiet for fear of upsetting the political establishment in Sacramento. Those politicians, led by Senator Kevin de Leon and Governor Jerry Brown, have pretended not to notice the UFW’s backwardness. But some organizers have been vocal. A lesbian Indigenous former UFW organizer writes that she experienced an atmosphere of sexism, discrimination, and homophobia among…

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LA Times report validates Pick Justice’s positions about UFW & ALRB

In an important article about the state government’s nullification of farmworkers’ votes, the Los Angeles Times validates many of Pick Justice’s positions over the past year. The Times made a lot of observations in its April 19 story that reinforce some of its previous reporting and corroborate Pick Justice’s positions: The UFW “was absent from Gerawan’s fields for more than 15 years.” The campaign to decertify the UFW is “the largest labor action in many years.” The ALRB “now finds itself spending…

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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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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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