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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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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