Employer Gerawan encourages workers to fight for their rights

It isn’t often in California that an employer encourages workers to fight for their rights. But that’s what Dan Gerawan did two weeks ago. California Ag Today, an industry publication, got a transcript of Gerawan’s statement to workers after the November state Supreme Court decision affirming State power to coerce workers into a contract from a politically favored union. Importantly, the Supreme Court did uphold the right of farmworkers to choose their union, or choose whether they want a union…

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Federal court agrees to hear case to stop ALRB from letting UFW force itself on farmworkers

In an important legal development, a federal court has agreed to hear arguments that the state should not abuse its power to enable the UFW to force itself on farmworkers at their workplace. The potential now exists for federal courts to intervene against Governor Brown’s out-of-control Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), which colludes with the UFW to abuse farmworkers who refuse to pay 3% of their wages to the syndicate. “Federal authorities have agreed to hear an appeal of a…

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Workers sue over state-sanctioned ‘wage theft’ (and UFW supports the theft)

UFW-approved California law allows employers to keep part of what they owe workers in back pay. So the workers are suing the state over what they call “wage theft.” “Farmworkers are suing the state of California over a law they say sanctions wage theft by protecting businesses who didn’t pay their employees,” the Desert Sun reports. The workers say that the UFW-backed law limits the amount of money workers can collect, and lets (politically connected) businesses get away with not paying penalties…

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ALRB decision expands scope beyond California

An interesting aspect of the ALRB’s decision to destroy the Gerawan farmworkers’ ballots to decertify the UFW is that the purely state-based board is using non-California precedents to justify its position. In so doing, the ALRB has nationalized what was supposed to be an internal California issue. The ALRB refers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), based in Washington, D.C., at least 143 times on 50 pages of the 276-page document. Of course, the California ALRB was modeled on…

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Court says ALRB’s forcible mediation against workers is unconstitutional

In a historic decision, a three-judge California appeals court struck down the section of state law that allows the ALRB to force UFW contracts on farmworkers. That section of the law, the judges said, is unconstitutional. The judges agreed with the employer, Gerawan Farming, that the ALRB should have allowed it to prove that the UFW had abandoned its thousands of members for years. “More fundamentally,” the judges ruled, “we agree with Gerawan’s constitutional arguments that the MMC [mandatory mediation…

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Federal judge OK’s farm worker suit against ALRB bullying

A federal judge has given the green light for beleaguered farm workers to sue the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to stop ALRB bullying. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill ruled in August that a suit led by Gerawan farm worker Silvia Lopez should proceed on First Amendment grounds. Lopez alleges that the ALRB is violating her Constitutional right to freedom of association. Judge O’Neill sits on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Lopez had filed…

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Federal court denies Shawver’s request for immunity

ALRB Regional Director Silas Shawver lost his request for immunity from a lawsuit by a Mexican-American farm worker. A federal judge denied Shawver’s immunity request in July. (Click here for the judge’s memorandum.) Shawver asked the US District Court for the Eastern District of California for “quasi-prosecutorial immunity” so that he could be removed as a defendant from a lawsuit alleging he violated the Constitutional rights of Central Valley farm workers. Gerawan farm worker Silvia Lopez filed suit against the Agricultural…

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