Workers in the Central Valley oppose the ALRB’s attempts to impose a union contract on them, saying they are being forced to pay 3 percent of their gross income to the union, or lose their jobs.
Those workers went 20 years without UFW representation. By managing a cooperative relationship with their employer, they struck a deal to get the highest wages in the industry.
UFW didn’t lift a finger.
Now, UFW wants its “fair share” – 3 percent of each worker’s pre-tax pay. The ALRB is in cahoots with the UFW to force the workers to pay the union, and force the employer to fire those who refuse.
In other words, the ALRB is forcing the workers to pay the union what amounts to “protection money” if they want to keep their jobs.
So who benefits from that protection money?
- If ALRB has its way, its lawyers will succeed in taking $3,432,000 a year out of the pockets of Gerawan farm workers.
- Conservatively, if the lowest average hourly wage at Gerawan Farms is $11.00 per hour (more than 20 percent higher than the California minimum wage), and the average worker works 40 hours a week, each lowest paid worker earns $440 per week, or $22,800 per year.
- Three percent of $22,800 is $686.40 in annual dues to the union.
- Gerawan Farming employs about 5,000 workers. So how much will the union make every year if the ALRB forces the workers to fork over three percent of their income?
- We don’t know what the payroll is, so let’s use the low average wage figure.
- $686.40 in annual union dues times 5,000 workers equals $3,432,000.
- The actual number is higher, because many Gerawan workers earn much more.
- ALRB will go to any lengths to take this money from the workers – even by destroying their ballots in which they voted against being unionized.
- “Workers say they already receive above-average pay and benefits and have good working conditions,” the Visalia Times-Delta reports. “The union, they say, is just after a portion of their paychecks.” Says six-year worker Alicia Diaz, “We’re single moms – for us, that’s tough to pay.”
- Many Gerawan farm workers earn more than some of the ALRB’s own employees.
- Gerawan farm workers are paid more than many UFW organizers and employees.
What would César Chávez say about this situation?