Supreme Court hands us a forced contract setback – but still lets us de-certify UFW

The California Supreme Court didn’t surprise anyone when it overturned a lower court’s ruling that state agencies cannot coerce farmworkers into United Farm Workers contracts. But the justices did uphold the right of workers to choose whether or not they wanted UFW representation. “We anticipated that the Supreme Court would side with the state’s political leaders to force contracts on us to benefit the politically-connected UFW,” said Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez. Pleasant surprise – We can still de-certify the…

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Real farmworkers swamp UFW activists at Supreme Court

Real Gerawan farmworkers outnumbered the UFW contingent at the California Supreme Court yesterday, as the floundering union failed to deliver the “hundreds” of workers it pledged to bring from around the state. UFW didn’t organize any Gerawan workers to join its protest in support of state power to force UFW contracts on unwilling farmworkers. Gerawan workers, mostly in blue Pick Justice shirts, outnumbered the UFW presence by at least 2 or 3 to 1. In the week before the September…

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UFW says it ‘vehemently’ opposes Pick Justice leader to appear before Supreme Court

The United Farm Workers “vehemently” opposes Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez to make an opening argument before the California Supreme Court. A major constitutional issue is at stake at the September 5 hearing. The state and the UFW seek to force farmworkers to submit to a UFW contract that would cut their take-home pay and deny them the right to have a say in the contract. “The UFW vehemently opposes Lopez’s request” to be given time to state her case…

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Court says government can ban workers from meetings to force contracts on them

The State of California has the right to prevent farmworkers from observing government meetings where decisions are made to force contracts on them, a court has ruled. “The secretive Agricultural Labor Relations Board has the right to prevent us from observing while government officials and UFW operatives force an “agreement” on farmworkers while denying us the right to vote,” Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez said of the June 26 Fresno superior court decision. In a a news release, employer Gerawan…

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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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Workers “never” have a right to witness mediation, California says

California farmworkers have “never” had a “right” to witness the labor mediation processes that determine their wages and work conditions. That’s what a top lawyer for Governor Jerry Brown argued in court. Pick Justice held a spirited protest outside the courthouse. Agricultural labor mediation has been and should remain secret and behind closed doors, Deputy Attorney General Nelson Richards told a three-judge panel. “It has never been a right” for workers to sit in on the labor mediation meetings, and…

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Unconstitutional: CA news publishers back lawsuit to strike down ALRB closed-door practices

First Amendment advocates are urging a California court to strike down the ALRB’s unconstitutional closed-door practices. In a Fresno court filing today, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the First Amendment Coalition asked the California Court of Appeal to strike down an order of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) that bars workers, the public, and the press from attending “on the record” hearings conducted as part of the Board’s compulsory…

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