Judge Mark R. Soble of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), said that UFW National Vice President Armando Elenes was “lying” when he said he couldn’t even estimate the paid membership of the declining union.
The United Farm Workers has exaggerated its membership on its filings with the U.S. Department of Labor, showing a huge spike in 2013.
“Most probably Elenes was concerned about conceding the smallness of existing UFW membership, especially in comparison to the number of Gerawan workers at stake,” Soble said in his 192-page ruling, issued September 17.
PickJustice.com reported in May that by forcing Gerawan workers to pay 3 percent of their income to join the union, the ALRB would be doubling the UFW’s payroll.
In his recent, long-awaited ruling, Soble stated:
“Elenes has worked for the UFW from 1997 to 2003 and from 2006 to the present. In 2013, Elenes was also responsible for organizing new members and bringing them into the union, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. He noted that the UFW had re-requested negotiations with Gerawan on October 12, 2013.
“On cross-examination, Elenes indicated that he was unable to give an estimate as to the UFW’s dues-paying members in 2013. As a key leader of the UFW, who was tasked with bringing in new members, knowing how many dues-paying members that you have is the type of information you simply need to know.
“In this instance, the number of workers at Gerawan, and thus also the number of potential dues-paying members, is very large, in the multiple thousands. Most probably Elenes was concerned about conceding the smallness of existing UFW membership, especially in comparison to the number of Gerawan workers at stake.”
Now it’s clear why UFW President Arturo Rodriguez refused to give an interview with California Lawyer a few weeks ago.