The local Reedley newspaper ran a feature about our recent protest at the Fresno courthouse, making mention of our larger-than-life caricature of ALRB’s disgraced board member Genevieve Shiroma.
The Reedley Exponent story reported that about 100 farmworkers showed up at the Fifth District Court of Appeals on April 20, “on the heels of an April 15 ruling by the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board that supported throwing out the results of a November 2013 election intended to decertify representation of Gerawan workers by the United Farm Workers of America.”
“Ballots were seized by the ALRB and have not been made public,” the Exponent reported.
The April 20 protest was to demand transparency for workers, employers, and journalists to observe the secretive collective bargaining negotiations. Those negotiations, called MMC, are imposed upon workers and employers, yet California government secrecy policies prevent affected parties and the press from knowing what is being said.
“Carrying signs saying ‘ALRB Count My Vote’ and ‘No Justice No Peaches’ among other messages, workers chanted and waved signs while standing outside the courthouse. One sign featured a cutout of Genevieve Shiroma, ALRB board member with a comic strip caption proclaiming ‘Yes We Can! (Destroy Your Votes),'” the Exponent reported.
The news report cited our friend Jesse Rojas, who “said the state spent $10 million on tax money to prevent the workers from voting to stay separate from the UFW.”
“Sacramento can’t stand the idea of workers who have good relations with employers and get paid more than union wages, and admits that the UFW isn’t even organizing in the fields anymore,” Rojas told the Exponent‘s publisher, Mid Valley Publishing, in an email.
“So it wants to make the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, a state agency, essentially to take the place of the dying UFW and force workers into union contracts. That’s what’s happening to the workers and employees at Gerawan Farming,” Rojas said.
Click here for the whole article, as it appeared in the Sanger Herald.