Court slaps $1.2 million judgment on UFW for cheating its employees

The UFW has cheated is own employees of their wages, and must pay them $885,000 in back pay, a Monterey County court has found. With penalties added, the UFW will be out $1.2 million. Reporting the judgment, the Los Angeles Times noted the irony. “The union founded on the principle of protecting wage abuses will have to shell out” the money because it abused its own workers, the Times reported. The UFW fired the main plaintiff, Francisco Cerritos, because he…

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Higher court sides with farmworkers against ALRB secrecy

Farmworker Lupe Garcia just won a big win for all California farmworkers, as well as for journalists and for employers who treat their workers fairly. The victory came from a unanimous three-judge panel in Fresno on May 9. The Fifth Court of Appeal ruled that farmworkers have a right to challenge the ALRB’s secretive “mandatory meeting and conciliation” (MMC) practices. It reversed a lower trial court that had favored the ALRB, finding a state law to be unconstitutional. That was a…

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Superior Court tells ALRB to hand over whistleblower documents to Gerawan

Handing the board yet another judicial bludgeoning, a Sacramento Superior Court told the ALRB to surrender some of its internal whistleblower documents to Gerawan Farming. The “tentative decision” opens up the possibility that the ALRB might be an unconstitutional entity. According to Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley: “Due process requires the internal separation of prosecutorial and advisory functions. It is a violation of the constitutional right to due process of law for an agency attorney acting as prosecutor to concurrently…

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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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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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