Senator Harris hires UFW hack to run Fresno office

A longtime UFW hack is running Senator Kamala Harris’ office in Fresno. Matt Rogers will be Harris’ “ears” as he runs the senator’s regional office, the Bakersfield Californian reports. The article describes Rogers as “a fixture in the Fresno County Democratic Party who has been hired to be those ears,” but does not describe Rogers’ longstanding relationship with the UFW. Instead, it shows Rogers as an open-minded local. “Rogers said his mission is to not let party lines separate citizens…

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Abused mushroom workers demand new UFW leadership

Mushroom workers, feeling abused by their employer and the UFW, demand new leadership at the flailing union. “Some 300 workers went on strike against the UFW and Monterey Mushroom” on May 25, “demanding a pay raise, just treatment from their managers, and new leadership in the UFW,” KION-TV reported. This is the first time in memory that UFW members have protested in large numbers to demand an end to the UFW’s ineffective – and what some allege to be morally corrupt…

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‘This is a disgrace for the union,’ mushroom worker says about UFW

The UFW is trying to persuade its members at Monterey Mushrooms that they should accept a huge pay cut down to minimum wage of $10.50 an hour. “This is a disgrace for the union,” worker leader Edith Ruiz told KION-TV in Spanish. KION operates channels 5 and 46 as a CBS affiliate. “The union and the company are hand-in-hand against us,” said mushroom worker José Guzmán. (“La unión y compañía están de la mano en contra de nosotros.”) “They pay…

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300 mushroom workers protest UFW; union in cahoots to slash wages

Hundreds of mushroom workers are rising up against the UFW, accusing the union of being in cahoots with the employer to slash workers’ wages. Edith Ruiz, a leader of 300 Monterey Mushrooms protesters, says that the UFW and the company want to cut the workers’ salaries almost in half – to minimum wage – and that the UFW is trying to convince the workers to go along. “We are demonstrating because they what to lower our salaries,” Ruiz told Stephanie…

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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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Court slaps another $770,000 judgment on UFW

A real California judge slapped the UFW with another $770,000 judgment, raising the total levied against the floundering union to $2 million. Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills ordered the UFW to pay a law firm $770,000 in legal fees after finding the UFW guilty of defrauding its own workers. Earlier, the court ordered UFW to pay $1.2 million in damages to the UFW’s former employees whom it had cheated. In his ruling, Judge Wills said, “the Court has…

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Is Equitable Food Initiative certifying tainted producers?

Has the UFW’s Equitable Food Initiative been certifying companies responsible for tainted produce that spread disease and is linked to at least one salmonella death in California? It looks that way. EFI, chaired by UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson, says it’s all about “food safety.” It has been criticized as acting as a UFW front designed to empower the dying union and inject cash as worker membership continues to fall. Some think that EFI is all about the money. A…

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Senate chief Kevin de Leon: ‘Nothing unseemly’ is going on here

Allegations of “cronyism” have gotten under Senate leader Kevin de Leon’s skin. He didn’t like how critics of former senator Isadore Hall – the subject of heated Senate debate for ALRB confirmation – said that Hall’s appointment reeked of cronyism. “The word cronyism is highly misplaced at this moment,” de Leon said on the Senate floor April 20. “It is not being used properly. It gives that perception to the larger public that something unseemly is happening,” he said. For…

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Amid ugly acrimony, state Senate approves Isadore Hall for ALRB post

Amid heated allegations of state cronyism and racism, the California state Senate voted along party lines to confirm Isadore Hall to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The bitter floor statements featured those who viewed Hall’s appointment to ALRB as an effort by Governor Jerry Brown to keep a political crony financially viable. Last year, Hall lost a congressional campaign to Rep. Nanette Barragán. A Democrat from Los Angeles, Barragán called Hall a crook. Critics of Hall’s ALRB appointment, led by Senator…

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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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Joaquin Arambula sticks it to farmworkers who don’t pay UFW

Joaquin Arambula doesn’t support Central Valley farmworkers. The Fresno politician, a member of the California state assembly, has ignored farmworkers’ repeated pleas for his support against the corrupt and abusive Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). Instead of helping his constituents, Arambula is backing the UFW union and its ALRB government enforcement arm. Arambula cares only for the less than 1% of California farmworkers who pay money to the UFW. He doesn’t care about the rest of us. Pick Justice first met…

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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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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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Court slaps $1.2 million judgment on UFW for cheating its employees

The UFW has cheated is own employees of their wages, and must pay them $885,000 in back pay, a Monterey County court has found. With penalties added, the UFW will be out $1.2 million. Reporting the judgment, the Los Angeles Times noted the irony. “The union founded on the principle of protecting wage abuses will have to shell out” the money because it abused its own workers, the Times reported. The UFW fired the main plaintiff, Francisco Cerritos, because he…

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