California’s biggest farmworker protests were AGAINST the UFW-ALRB

California’s biggest farmworker protests in history were not led by César Chávez or the UFW. They were led by thousands of farmworkers opposed to the UFW. The farmworkers took to the streets by the thousands to protest the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) from forcing them into a UFW contract. Local television stations in Visalia reported it at the time. This video summarizes those protests, and features farmworkers who explained how the UFW and ALRB have tried to force…

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New York Times looks at ‘collapse’ of California’s organized farmworker movement

California’s organized farm worker movement is in such a state of collapse that the New York Times has started to pay attention. The New York Times doesn’t blame the growers. In a remarkable article, it lays blame squarely on the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and its government protector, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The former ALRB chief, in turn, blames undocumented workers, who don’t want to organize in unions. To the obvious dismay of ALRB Chairman William Gould, who…

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State lawmakers finally consider pro-farmworker legislation

California lawmakers are considering legislation that will actually help farmworkers. This doesn’t seem to be a standard political payoff to the UFW, but a real law that really protects farmworkers and not special interests. The Opportunity to Work Act, introduced by Assembly Members Gonzalez and Kaira last week, would make employers offer extra work to existing employees before bringing on more employees of subcontractors. If enacted, the bill, AB 5,  would permit employees to file complaints against – and even…

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Meet FUJ, the nation’s newest farmworkers’ union

They got no support from the United Farm Workers (UFW), because the UFW is in cahoots with a big retailer. So the workers at Sakuma Brothers, a supplier of Driscoll’s berries, voted to set up their own union. After three years of organizing, the Sakuma workers in Washington State voted to formally organize FUJ: Familias Unidas por La Justicia (Families United for Justice). Ramon Torres heads the grassroots union. He used to work in the Sakuma berry fields, but “was fired…

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Court says ALRB’s forcible mediation against workers is unconstitutional

In a historic decision, a three-judge California appeals court struck down the section of state law that allows the ALRB to force UFW contracts on farmworkers. That section of the law, the judges said, is unconstitutional. The judges agreed with the employer, Gerawan Farming, that the ALRB should have allowed it to prove that the UFW had abandoned its thousands of members for years. “More fundamentally,” the judges ruled, “we agree with Gerawan’s constitutional arguments that the MMC [mandatory mediation…

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