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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ALRB bans Pick Justice leaflet about court judgment against UFW

In an over-the-top breach of freedom of speech, the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board banned Pick Justice from distributing leaflets to farm workers at ALRB’s Visalia office Pick Justice spokesman Jesse Rojas sent an advance copy of the leaflet to Chris Schneider, a lifelong UFW activist who is Regional Director of the taxpayer-funded ALRB office in Visalia. “They have been reviewed by me and I have deemed them inappropriate by the ALRB due to the partisan views expressed therein,” Schneider…

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Real farmworkers swamp UFW activists at Supreme Court

Real Gerawan farmworkers outnumbered the UFW contingent at the California Supreme Court yesterday, as the floundering union failed to deliver the “hundreds” of workers it pledged to bring from around the state. UFW didn’t organize any Gerawan workers to join its protest in support of state power to force UFW contracts on unwilling farmworkers. Gerawan workers, mostly in blue Pick Justice shirts, outnumbered the UFW presence by at least 2 or 3 to 1. In the week before the September…

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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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Shawver renews controversies about himself. Let’s review them.

ALRB assistant general counsel Silas Shawver has renewed controversies about himself. His August, 2017 letter to Pick Justice, claiming without proof that the ALRB did not fire him in 2015, allows us to revisit some of the reasons why the UFW legal activist is potentially breaking state law requiring him to be impartial while in public service. Shawver is a practicing attorney on the state payroll, so he knows the importance of providing evidence to substantiate or refute claims. Here…

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Full text of Shawver’s unsubstantiated denial that he was ‘fired in disgrace’ for ‘misconduct’

ALRB assistant general counsel Silas Shawver provided no evidence to refute the allegation that he had been fired in 2015. Here is the full text of his August 2, 2017 letter to Pick Justice in which he demanded we remove the offending material. “Dear Mr. Rojas, “This is Silas Shawver. We have met on at least one occasion in the past. I understand that you manage the pickjustice.com website and that you are responsible and/or have control over its content.…

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Secretive Silas Shawver denies he was ‘fired in disgrace from ALRB’

Silas Shawver, the ALRB assistant general counsel who tried to prevent Gerawan workers from voting to de-certify the UFW, denies he had been “fired in disgrace from ALRB.” In an email to Pick Justice, Shawver claimed that the characterization that he was “fired in disgrace from ALRB in 2015 for misconduct” is “completely false.” He offered no proof of his claim. Shawver was linked to the whistleblower scandal in the Visalia office that he directed. He left ALRB under a…

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New ALRB executive secretary is from UFW activist camp

The ALRB lurched further than ever from its legally mandated neutrality today when it named a pro-UFW activist lawyer as its new executive secretary. Santiago Avila-Gomez succeeds longtime ALRB executive secretary J. Antonio Barbosa effective today. While Barbosa seemed like a fair and impartial man personally, we never knew of him taking a stand to keep ALRB “impartial” as the law requires. Still, he was of the ALRB old school where, at one time, the 99% of California farmworkers who…

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Journalists must understand difference between ALRB’s ‘judge’ and a real judge

News reports about an ALRB administrative ruling show a misunderstanding about a big issue: The difference between ALRB’s enforcement for the UFW, and a real decision by a real judge in a real court of law. Some of the reports confused the UFW, which represents less than 1% of farmworkers in California, with all or most farmworkers. Some of the reporting was just sloppy reporting. Some of it was good reporting, with misleading headlines added by a lazy editor. At…

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Fresno Bee column says ALRB and UFW are “partners in crime”

A Fresno Bee column says out loud what a lot of people in the Central Valley have been saying quietly to themselves but seldom out loud: The ALRB and UFW are “partners in crime.” It starts out with a tough question: “When you have a union and a labor board both being sued by former employees for unjust treatment, how can either be expected to deliver their promises of justice to California’s field workers?” Guest writers Tal Cloud and Matt…

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Isadore Hall & ALRB don’t deny witness threat, LA Times reports

ALRB appointee Isadore Hall and the ALRB itself declined to deny to the Los Angeles Times that Hall had intimidated and threatened witnesses. Reporter Patrick McGreevy asked Hall and the ALRB to comment on Senator Andy Vidak’s allegations that Hall committed a crime on February 28 when he intimidated and threatened witnesses opposed to his Senate confirmation to the board. Instead, the Los Angeles Times reports, Hall “declined to comment.” But Hall didn’t even speak to the reporter. He hid…

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De Leon: Isadore Hall’s witness threats are just ‘goofy conspiracy theories’

Digging in his heels to shield Isadore Hall, California’s top senator dismissed allegations that the ALRB appointee committed a crime when he threatened and intimidated witnesses. Senate President Kevin de Leon rejected Senator Andy Vidak’s call for an investigation into Hall’s “obscenity-laced, threatening tirade” against farmers set to testify against his appointment to the ALRB. A spokesman for de Leon brushed off the concerns as “goofy conspiracy theories.” Hall’s loud verbal attack on farmers with the California Fresh Fruit Association…

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Full text of Gould’s resignation letter to Governor Brown

Here is the full text of ALRB Chairman William Gould’s resignation letter to Governor Jerry Brown on January 13, 2017, as provided by the Los Angeles Times. We have highlighted the pertinent sections in bold. Images of the letter appear at the end. Dear Governor Brown, I write to advise you that I am resigning as Chairman of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, effective no later than 5:00 PM Wednesday, February 22, 2017. It has been my honor to serve…

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Shawver in ethical dilemma as ALRB-UFW lawyer

Silas Shawver, the UFW militant who left the ALRB under a cloud last year, only to be secretly rehired this fall, is in an ethical dilemma as ALRB Deputy General Counsel. Shawver is: a UFW loyalist; a state official sworn to be impartial while advocating for farmworkers; the seniormost state official who tried to prevent Gerawan farmworkers from voting to decertify the UFW in 2013; the state official who prevented the farmworkers’ votes from being counted, and locked them in…

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