More than 20 years ago, the United Farm Workers (UFW) abandoned the workers at Gerawan Farms. Now, they are back and want at least 3% of every employee’s paycheck or the ability to fire employees who refuse to give part of their wages.
Thousands of employees have been fighting to get rid of the UFW. They worked hard to gather enough signatures to hold a decertification election. Despite strong opposition from the UFW, the vote what held on November 5, 2013.
Unfortunately, because of the UFW’s ongoing lies and bullying tactics, those votes have not been counted by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), which has continued to stall and invent excuses as to why the ballots cannot be counted while continuing to deny farm workers the right to a free and fair election.
|What UFW Says||The Truth|
|Farm workers are being intimidated and coerced by their employer.||The Farmworker Rights movement is completely organized by the employees. It is the employees who stand to lose part of their paychecks. It is the employees who collected signatures and demanded a decertification election. No one is telling the farm workers what to do.
Silvia Lopez, one of the first to start rallying the employees, did so because she knows she doesn't need the UFW. She has spent more than 12 months speaking to anyone who will listen about her fight. Along with her co-workers, she gathered more than 3,000 signatures from the employees to demand a decertification election.
The UFW refuses to believe that the farm workers don't want or need them, so they are spreading lies and implying that the farm workers don't understand what is going on.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
|A majority of employees want a new UFW contract.||Every employee has the right to participate in a free and fair election to determine whether they want to be represented by the UFW. Unfortunately, for more than six months, the UFW has worked to deny this right to thousands of farm workers at Gerawan.
Why are they fighting so hard if they think they will win the election?
The truth of the matter is, more than 2,500--a large majority--of employees signed the first petition to hold a decertification election. When that petition was wrongfully invalidated, employees were able to gather 3,0000 signatures in just one-third the amount of time.
Hundreds of employees have participated in protests outside the ALRB offices, UFW headquarters and in Sacramento, demanding that their votes be counted.
Why not let the votes be counted and find out for sure just how many people want the UFW to represent them? What is the UFW afraid of? Don't they stand for free choice?
|Gerawan Farms has engaged in unfair labor practices and its brand, Prima, should be boycotted at various grocery stores.||In another example of bullying tactics, the UFW has launched a campaign against Gerawan farm workers, and the Prima brand they work for. The UFW has shown up at grocery stores and is trying to intimidate consumers and produce buyers from Prima products. Read the UFW's lies for yourself!
Who will this hurt? It will hurt hardworking Gerawan employees! A boycott could cost them their jobs!
The UFW never had any problem with the Prima brand UNTIL THE EMPLOYEES TRIED TO FIRE THE UNION. Now they have launched an all-out assault on the products farm workers proudly pick every day.
Silvia Lopez, a longtime worker at Gerawan, recently sent a letter to Walmart, Safeway and other buyers of Prima brand produce to thank them for helping give farm workers like her a well-paying job and correcting the UFW's lies about their working conditions.
Read Silvia's letter to Walmart here.
|The November 5, 2013 decertification vote on whether to get rid of the union is invalid and the ballots should never be counted.||The UFW has tried every tactic to stop the November 5, 2013 votes from being counted. That's because they know that they will lose the election. One of these tactics has been to claim that the vote is invalid because employees have been "coerced" into participating in the election by their employer.
The decertification election was begun by the employees who collected signatures and obeyed all the laws. It's the UFW, using their influence with the ALRB, that has corrupted the electoral process.
For example, the Labor Code requires the Regional Director hold a decertification vote within seven days of filing a petition for decertification, which was submitted to the ALRB on September 18, 2013. Regional Director Silas Shawver did not hold the vote within the statutory timeframe.
Just a few minutes before midnight of the eve of the decertification election, the regional director in charge of the election informed the parties that a new list of eligible employees and challenged employees would be used. The new list had been created by the UFW and Gerawan and the employees were not given a copy of that list to review or object to until just before the polls opened.
It is the UFW who hasn't been playing by the rules, not the workers who are just trying to get rid of the union and the contract that would require them to pay at least 3% of their salaries or let the union fire them.
|The ballots from the November 5, 2013 decertification vote will be counted by August, 2014.||Unless the UFW is having conversations with the ALRB that the farm workers aren't privy to, there is no evidence that the ballots will be counted any time soon. In fact, the UFW has tried stall-tactic after stall-tactic to stop those votes from being counted.
Now they are lying to workers in an effort to stop them from continuing to demonstrate outside the UFW office, at the State Capitol, at the ALRB office and at courthouses hearing cases about the issue.
|The UFW will help with citizenship if employees support their new contract.||The UFW always claims that the employees are being coerced by their employer, but it's the union that is really trying to coerce the employees.
In one of the worst examples of this, the UFW has been out in the fields telling Gerawan employees that if they support the union, the union will help expedite citizenship for the employee and his/her family.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE. THE UNION HAS NO AUTHORITY TO EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP WITH IMMIGRATION SERVICES!!
|The UFW did not abandon Gerawan workers more than 20 years ago.||Yes they did. This timeline shows the sequence of events. The UFW left in 1992 without negotiating a single contract and was not heard from again until late 2012.
|Employees will be paid more under the new UFW contract.||In July 2014, Gerawan Farms sent a notice to all employees that they have proposed a new minimum wage for all full-time employees. The farm has consistently had the highest wages in the industry, and the new $11.00 per hour rate continues that tradition.
The UFW has been lying to employees saying under their contract, employees will be paid $11.25 per hour by March 2015. However, they fail to calculate in the 3% they will take from each employee's paycheck. In reality, each employee will be paid $10.91 per hour, as opposed to the $11.00 per hour pay by Gerawan without a contract!
To learn more about the farmworkers’ efforts, please visit www.farmworkerrights.com