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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Cesar Chavez Day 2017: A black eye for the Chavez legacy

The ALRB and UFW are so openly against farmworkers that they have damaged Cesar Chavez’s legacy. On the week of Cesar Chavez Day, the state agency and union earned the following headlines: “Corruption and collusion in California labor board,” Forbes, March 26. “Farmworker union underpaid its own workers, judge rules,” Los Angeles Times, March 30. “The ALRB and UFW: Partners in crime,” Fresno Bee, March 30. Pick Justice illustrated the tragedy on its new website, CesarChavezDay.com. We posted an iconic image…

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UFW hides from media about how it messed up a law to repay workers

The United Farm Workers is avoiding news organizations because it pressured lawmakers to insert unconstitutional language in a law. The law would have allowed employers to settle with workers for a staggering $200,000,000 in back wages, without paying penalties to the government, and protecting them from lawsuits. Those penalties and lawsuits could have made some companies unable to pay the workers at all, so the law was important to everyone. But the UFW pressured lawmakers to single out two companies…

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New ALRB Visalia director: A UFW man since he was 12

Chris Schneider is ALRB’s new Regional Director in Visalia under the state agency’s Office of General Counsel. Schneider never finished college. And he doesn’t have a law degree. But that doesn’t matter because he’s a UFW-certified legal activist. Schneider’s relationship with the UFW goes back before most farmworkers were born. Committed to “UFW struggle” since he was 12 Schneider told the Fresno Bee that he first learned of the “UFW struggle” when he was 12 years old. Five years later, at…

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Fresno Bee picks up on our WikiLeaks story about secret UFW deal against workers

The Fresno Bee has picked up on our story about how WikiLeaks released an email about a secret deal between the UFW and Hillary Clinton to smash our farmworker movement. “Hillary Clinton agreed to help United Farm Workers in its conflict with Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, according to internal campaign emails exposed this week by WikiLeaks,” Andrea Castillo reports in the Bee. “The Clinton campaign, however, is questioning the veracity of all the WikiLeaks emails, and held a conference call Friday…

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Workers “never” have a right to witness mediation, California says

California farmworkers have “never” had a “right” to witness the labor mediation processes that determine their wages and work conditions. That’s what a top lawyer for Governor Jerry Brown argued in court. Pick Justice held a spirited protest outside the courthouse. Agricultural labor mediation has been and should remain secret and behind closed doors, Deputy Attorney General Nelson Richards told a three-judge panel. “It has never been a right” for workers to sit in on the labor mediation meetings, and…

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How to make a big scandal out of a non issue

Apart from making a lot of noise, the dying UFW can’t (or won’t) do much to help farmworkers. Its membership has crashed from more than 50,000 to less than 5,000.  The UFW can’t (or won’t) fight for better pay. The ALRB’s own chairman admits that UFW organizing in California “has completely disappeared.” He even acknowledges that most California farmworkers don’t want unions. So it’s understandable that, to detract from its failures – and make it look relevant – the UFW will…

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Fresno Bee: Ethics questions cloud Shiroma’s ability to serve on ALRB

ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma’s ethics are so clouded that she cannot serve as an objective member of the state board, the Fresno Bee reports. “Shiroma’s career is so inexorably linked to the political goals of the union that she cannot possibly render a fair and objective decision,” says Fresno attorney Anthony Raimondo, representing farmworker Silvia Lopez, who led a petition drive against the UFW in 2013. The ALRB still refuses to comment on questions about Shiroma’s ethics problems, raising questions…

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Superior Court tells ALRB to hand over whistleblower documents to Gerawan

Handing the board yet another judicial bludgeoning, a Sacramento Superior Court told the ALRB to surrender some of its internal whistleblower documents to Gerawan Farming. The “tentative decision” opens up the possibility that the ALRB might be an unconstitutional entity. According to Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley: “Due process requires the internal separation of prosecutorial and advisory functions. It is a violation of the constitutional right to due process of law for an agency attorney acting as prosecutor to concurrently…

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UFW can’t save its own workers’ jobs as grape operation shuts down

With no money put away to help its members who have lost their jobs, the UFW has shown once again that it is incapable of taking care of the people it claims to represent. UFW Vice President Armando Elenes said that the union has known about Gerawan Farming reducing its grape production for a year, yet the union has done nothing to help the workers prepare for that day. “We’ve known for about a year now that they were going…

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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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Fresno Bee runs page-one story on ALRB bias toward union

In a landmark development, the Fresno Bee has run a page-one story about ALRB bias toward the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. The story is important because it shows that bias complaints against ALRB go beyond Gerawan Farming and the farmworkers – and because of the many questions that ALRB refused to answer. Just as PickJustice.com has been saying, the controversy centers on disgraced ALRB general counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen, who was removed from office suddenly last June. However, the Fresno Bee…

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ALRB seen as ‘out of control’ bureaucracy with ‘ballooning’ budget

The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board is “out of control,” whose “ballooning” budget and staff, is driven by a drive to force Gerawan farmworkers to join the United Farm Workers. That’s what a California state assemblyman and others tell the Fresno Bee in a front-page story about the ALRB’s bias toward the union. Here are some of the highlights: Former ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen was the prime engine behind a 90% hike in the ALRB budget to go after Gerawan Farming and its farmworkers who…

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ALRB’s acting general counsel chooses his words very carefully

The interim replacement for disgraced former ALRB general counsel Sylvia Torres-Guillen won’t defend his predecessor to journalists – but he won’t exactly say that the ALRB is in fact impartial as the law requires. When the Fresno Bee asked Mark Woo-Sam, ALRB Acting General Counsel, if his state agency was in fact acting impartially as required by state law, Woo-Sam didn’t say yes or no. Instead, Woo-Sam cited what the law requires, and then said that the ALRB takes that…

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