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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Federal court denies Shawver’s request for immunity

ALRB Regional Director Silas Shawver lost his request for immunity from a lawsuit by a Mexican-American farm worker. A federal judge denied Shawver’s immunity request in July. (Click here for the judge’s memorandum.) Shawver asked the US District Court for the Eastern District of California for “quasi-prosecutorial immunity” so that he could be removed as a defendant from a lawsuit alleging he violated the Constitutional rights of Central Valley farm workers. Gerawan farm worker Silvia Lopez filed suit against the Agricultural…

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Would César Chávez have wanted forced unionization? ALRB says ‘yes’

“If César were here today, he certainly wouldn’t be supporting what’s being done now, which is a union trying to impose itself on employees,” says Dan Gerawan, one of the largest employers of California farm workers. Gerawan Farming is known for paying the highest wages in the industry. The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is ganging up on Gerawan – both the company and the workers – to force the workers to be bound to a United Farm Workers…

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Shawver admits ALRB hasn’t counted worker ballots & has no plan to do so

The ALRB admits that it has not counted the ballots of thousands of Central Valley farm workers, and that it has no timeline for doing so. ALRB field representative Silas Shawver admitted this on Reason.tv. The ballots, he said, are locked away in a safe. So when will the ALRB count the workers votes? Says Shawver, “Um, there hasn’t been a timeline that’s set.” In the video, Shawver claims that his office provides “an orderly way in which workers can…

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Farm workers ask ALRB to respect their voting rights

A group of laborers from Central Valley appeared before the ALRB to ask that the board count their votes on whether or not they want to be represented by a union. “From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely ask that we get our votes counted, and to know what’s the end to our situation,” a worker tells the ALRB in Spanish, through an interpreter. “What I want, what everyone here wants, is our votes to be counted.” The workers…

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Torres-Guillen in ‘lawless power grab’

ALRB General Counsel Sylvia Torres Guillen is making what critics see as a “lawless power grab” by filing a lawsuit to fight Central Valley fruit growers without having the legal authority. Torres Guillen and her Visalia regional director, Silas Shawver, are “claiming to invoke authority that they do not possess,” Agenda 21 Radio reports. The latest action is a legal move to break farm workers in the Central Valley who don’t want to pay a union that doesn’t represent them.…

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Fresno County calls for ALRB to count workers’ votes

Taking the ALRB directly to task for not counting the votes of farm workers, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in solidarity with the people who work the fields. The specific workers’ vote was the November 5, 2013 balloting among Gerawan Farm workers on whether to decertify the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, which had not represented them for 20 years. The Fresno board of supervisors praised Gerawan farm workers for their “tenacity” in petitioning the…

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Assemblyman: ALRB now a ‘rogue agency . . . out of control’

“The ALRB is a rogue agency now, entirely biased and out of control.” That’s how Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), describes the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. “The workers have been entirely ignored by the very people and political leaders supposed to be representing them,” Patterson tells the Flash Report‘s Katie Grimes. “The ALRB is a rogue agency now, entirely biased and out of control.” Grimes reports that Patterson “wrote a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown expressing his support of the farm workers and…

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ALRB overrules Shawver’s attempt to stop workers from voting

In a sharp rebuke to its own regional director Silas Shawver, the ALRB issued an order to stop Shawver from blocking Gerawan farm workers’ vote on whether to unionize. The ALRB noted that on October 25, farm worker Silvia Lopez filed a petition to decertify the United Farm Workers (UFW), which had not worked to represent the workers in more than 20 years. Three days after Lopez filed her motion, the ALRB observed in court, “the Regional Director [Silas Shawver]…

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Court rips Shawver, suspects ALRB is ‘in cahoots’

A California Superior Court has found that the state official immediately responsible for blocking a count of farm workers’ votes has exceeded his authority, and says he suspects the official is “in cahoots.” Judge Jeffrey Y. Hamilton, Jr., of the California Superior Court in Fresno, found on August 21 that Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) lawyer Silas Shawver committed an “overreach” of authority by denying workers the right for their votes to be counted. “So the Court is very suspect…

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