Governor Brown’s appointees trying to invalidate legal vote of more than 5,000 farmworkers
(FRESNO)—The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) continues to try to deny the farmworkers at Gerawan Farms their right to have their votes counted. Today, they issued a new complaint alleging unfair labor practices at the farm, which they claim invalidate the votes the workers cast in November 2013.
“Just a few days ago, my co-workers and I went to the ALRB office in Visalia to tell them in person that we were not coerced or interfered with by our employer when we voted last November. We gave the ALRB more than 800 declarations signed under penalty of perjury that we were not coerced or intimidated by our employer. The only people who have tried to coerce us by lying, bullying and threatening us are the UFW employees. The ALRB is supposed to fight for the farmworkers. But instead, they chose to ignore the more than 800 voices of farmworkers at Gerawan. It’s shameful!” said Silvia Lopez, a longtime farmworker at Gerawan farms.
No mention of the more than 800 declarations submitted by Gerawan employees is included in the ALRB’s complaint.
The vast majority of farmworkers at Gerawan Farms have been fighting for more than a year to fire the UFW, which after abandoning the workers for more than 20 years, reappeared at the farm. The ALRB has worked to deny the workers their rights, including prohibiting them from attending public hearings regarding a new contract, creating excuses to stop an election from happening and refusing to count the votes of more than 5,000 workers at Gerawan. Even Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton accused the ALRB general counsel of appearing to work “in cahoots” with the UFW to deny the workers their right to participate in a free and fair election.
“Given the ALRB’s actions to this point, we are not surprised that they came to this UFW-approved conclusion,” said Paul Bauer, attorney for Ms. Lopez. “Even the timing of these findings is another example of the ALRB’s attempts to silence the workers. Just last week, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) overseeing this case chastised the ALRB general counsel for dragging her feet on releasing her findings, since ongoing delays will hamper our ability to provide responses and call witnesses during the September 29, 2014 hearing. This is the type of unethical trickery that some of the ALRB representatives have been engaged in since Day One.”
The ALRB will present its findings at a series of hearings set to begin on September 29 in Fresno that are predicted to continue through the end of 2014.
Porterville Record: ALRB trying to bully Gerawan Farms
Orange County Register: EDITORIAL: Matt Patterson: Democracy denied for Fresno farm workers
To learn more about the farmworkers’ efforts, please visit www.farmworkerrights.com