Gerawan field laborers earn more than some ALRB employees

Hearing officers and clerical staff of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) earn about the same – or less – as Gerawan Farming workers. Gerawan pays its field laborers a base pay of $11.00 an hour, annualized to about $22,000 a year. Field laborers can earn as much as $15.00 per hour, annualized to $30,000 a year. According to Gerawan’s wage data, its average wages for grape harvesters in 2014 were $16.27 an hour, annualized at $32,540 per year. Average…

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ALRB acts as UFW enforcer in Gerawan farmworkers’ case

Government agency informs workers of voting rights then repeatedly blocks election Having been abandoned by the UFW for more than 20 years, Gerawan farmworkers resisted when the union resurfaced in 2012, demanding that they be fired unless they fork over 3 percent of their pay. To the farmworkers, this was an unfair labor practice (ULP) – just the kind of issue the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) was created to investigate and prosecute. Instead, the ALRB’s new general counsel, Sylvia…

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ALRB can double UFW’s payroll by taking Gerawan workers’ 3%

By forcing Gerawan farm workers to pay 3 percent of their gross wages to the union, the ALRB would be able to double the UFW’s annual payroll. In documents it filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, UFW reported that it has an annual payroll of $3.2 million. Some of its top executives have been on the UFW payroll for 40 years or more – guaranteed jobs for life. By forcing an estimated 5,000 Gerawan farm laborers to pay 3…

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AB 1389 would protect worker rights to protest ALRB

The ALRB is trying to silence farmworkers who criticize the politicized agency. The UFW “contract” that the ALRB wants to force on Gerawan farmworkers includes a clause that bans the workers from holding strike protests against both the agency and the union. The employer and employees argued against the clause, but the ALRB put it in the contract anyway. Why would the ALRB impose it when neither side wants it? Who would benefit from such an imposition? Only outsiders would benefit:…

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ALRB has hidden its page about its duty to help workers vote against union representation

The ALRB has hidden its web page referencing its legal obligation to conduct elections for workers seeking to vote to reject labor union representation. The page, which explained the ALRB’s legal authority and duties, stated that the Board “is responsible for conducting elections to determine whether a majority of the employees of an agricultural employer” with to be represented by “no labor organization at all.” That page is now gone from Google search engine results, and the original link is dead.…

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Workers smash ALRB piñata at Fresno courthouse

Smashing a piñata resembling the ALRB safe that contains their un-counted ballots, hundreds of farm workers demanded again that ALRB count their votes. A handful of United Farm Workers (UFW) organizers showed up to oppose the farm workers. The workers held the April 14 demonstration in front of the California appeals court in Fresno, which was holding a hearing about the joint ALRB-UFW attempt to impose a contract on them. The contract would take more than $3 million a year from…

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Fresno Bee shows farm workers shouting down UFW

Hundreds of farm workers shouted down UFW organizers outside a state courthouse in Fresno April 14. The Fresno Bee covered the confrontation on video. Orange-shirted UFW organizers can be seen holding signs seeking to compel the workers to accept a contract, with the workers responding with chants of “Fuera!” meaning “get out of here” or “go away.” Judging by the video, the UFW had more signs than people to hold them. In an accompanying article, the Fresno Bee reports that,…

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Times-Delta: ALRB general counsel is rigging ‘UFW to be the winner in every election’

ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres Guillen has twisted her authority and rigged the system to make “the UFW to be the winner in every election” among California farm workers. In an op-ed for the Visalia Times-Delta, agricultural writer Don Curlee praises ALRB Chairman William B. Gould for recent steps to rein in the out-of-control general counsel (GC). Without mentioning Torres Guillen by name, Curlee says that the present GC, “appointed two years ago” by Governor Jerry Brown, “demonstrated close ties…

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ALRB still denying farmworkers a vote

“The Legislature and the Brown administration apparently believe California’s farmworkers cannot be trusted to exercise their democratic rights. It’s the only plausible explanation for their efforts — via an administrative process and legislation — to invalidate the votes of 3,000 Fresno area workers who took part in a union election,” Steven Greenhut writes in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Workers at Gerawan Farming voted on a labor contract 10 months ago, but the Agricultural Labor Relations Board refuses to even count their votes. Instead, ALRB…

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ALRB’s Shawver disregards sworn petition of 800 farm workers

The ALRB’s Visalia representative disregarded the petition of 800 farm workers, submitted under penalty of perjury, and issued a new complaint to prevent them from having their votes counted. Shawver issues new complaint “The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) continues to try to deny the farmworkers at Gerawan Farms their right to have their votes counted,” FarmWorkerRights.com reports. “Today, [ALRB] issued a new complaint alleging unfair labor practices at the farm, which they claim invalidate the votes the workers cast…

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Forbes: ALRB is ‘refusing to count’ farm workers’ votes

The ALRB is refusing to count the votes of farm workers who don’t want to pay 3 percent of their income to a union that they feels doesn’t represent them. “The workers, from Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, voted in a decertification election last November to rid themselves of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union once and for all,” Forbes reports. “But the authorities at the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) are refusing the count those votes. For almost a year…

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800 workers call ALRB Visalia office a ‘bully’

Eight hundred farm workers converged on the ALRB office in Visalia, demanding that the ALRB count the votes the workers’ cast in November, 2013, on whether or not to unionize, and calling the government entity a “bully.” Covering the protest, the Visalia Times-Delta reports, “The workers had an up or down vote last year whether to leave the union, but the results of that vote have not yet been counted by the ALRB. “Many of Gerawan’s workers have traveled up…

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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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CA farmworkers feel bullied by ALRB

California farmworkers say that they are being bullied when they try to vote on whether or not to be represented by organized labor unions. “At their best, labor unions are something simple: they bring employees who share the same workplace into a collaborative relationship – independent not only of management, but also of any outside supervisors,” James Poulos writes in the Daily Beast. “At their worst, unions aren’t bottom-up organizations. They are, in effect, a new set of rules imposed…

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