Seen today at Gerawan’s Farm:
Gerawan Farming alleged today that a state official improperly failed to disclose the petition signature tallies he relied upon when pulling the plug this week on a United Farm Workers union decertification vote at the family farm.
In a letter to Silas Shawver, regional director of the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Gerawan noted that Shawver’s math just doesn’t add up: over 2,000 signatures from Gerawan employees were filed asking for a decertification vote, yet only 1,300 were needed and just 100 were deemed invalid. The regional director’s failure to document his version of the total signatures, the number that were required to hold an election, and the number found invalid, leave a “gaping hole” in his report, Gerawan charges.
“We believe the Petitioner and the potential voters have a right to know the signature count. Otherwise, it appears that the decision about whether to dismiss or not dismiss a petition is an arbitrary one not based on a fair and careful assessment of whether there is reasonable cause to believe there is a bona fide question of representation,” the letter stated.
Gerawan reminded the ALRB that, at Gerawan’s request, the agency officials personally met with over 2,100 Gerawan employees before the election. The Board’s agents, including Mr. Shawver, visited the farm so they could inform the workers of their right to ask for an election. “When the ALRB hides the actual signature count, as you have done, it certainly creates reason for suspicion that something is just not right,” Gerawan stated.
FRESNO, California–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Gerawan Farming alegó hoy que un funcionario estatal actuó de manera indebida al no divulgar los conteos de firmas de la petición sobre los que se basó al momento de impedir esta semana el voto para la anulación de la certificación del United Farm Workers (Sindicato de Trabajadores Agrícolas) en la granja familiar.
En una carta a Silas Shawver, Director Regional del Consejo de Relaciones del Trabajo Agrícola (Agricultural Labor Relations Board, ALRB) del estado, Gerawan destacó que las cuentas de Shawver no coincidían: se presentaron más de 2000 firmas de los empleados de Gerawan, solicitando un voto para la anulación de la certificación; sin embargo, solo se necesitaban 1300 y solo 100 fueron consideradas nulas. El hecho de que el director regional no documentara su versión del total de firmas, la cantidad requerida para realizar una elección y la cantidad de firmas que fueron consideradas nulas, deja un “enorme agujero” en su informe, acusa Gerawan.
“Creemos que el Solicitante y los posibles votantes tienen derecho a conocer el conteo de firmas. De lo contrario, parece que la decisión sobre si desestimar o no la petición es arbitraria y no se basa en una evaluación justa y cuidadosa sobre si hay una razón justificada para creer que existe una cuestión de representación de buena fe”, se señaló en la carta.
Gerawan le recordó al ALRB, que a pedido de Gerawan, los funcionarios de la agencia se reunieron personalmente con más de 2100 empleados de Gerawan antes de la elección. Los representantes del Consejo, incluido el Sr. Shawver, visitaron la granja para informar a los trabajadores sobre su derecho a solicitar una elección. “Cuando el ALRB oculta el conteo de firmas real, como lo ha hecho, indudablemente genera motivos para sospechar que algo no está bien”, afirmó Gerawan.
Gerawan Farming is disappointed but not surprised at the regional director’s decision, which contains false, unsubstantiated allegations about our company. Having only learned of these baseless allegations Wednesday, we had no opportunity to respond but fully intend to do so.
We fail to understand why the regional director chose not to reveal how many signatures were filed and how many were needed to have an election. The company’s understanding is that more than 2,000 signatures were filed, and that the threshold to trigger an election was only 1,300. The employees at a minimum deserve transparency. Gerawan provided the regional director access to every one of our workers and supervisors, and believe the ALRB should act in the same spirit of openness.
Gerawan is the highest paying employer in the industry. As a result, the UFW has an obvious interest in extracting dues from Gerawan workers given its tenuous financial condition.
Gerawan Farming believes an election giving workers the right to vote for the first time in 23 years would benefit everyone. Today’s Gerawan employees deserve a chance to vote. Without an election, they are bound by the results of an old vote that 99% of Gerawan’s current employees never participated in and which occurred before some of them were even born.
Gerawan has always promised to accept whatever vote results from a secret-ballot election and has proposed that the UFW agree to do so ever since the union reemerged from abandoning the employees over two decades ago. An election, regardless of the outcome, will create the peace and stability everyone desires, but most importantly would allow farm workers to decide for themselves, which was the very reason the ALRB was created. Unfortunately, the UFW and regional director have forgotten that.
KERMAN, Calif. (KMPH) – Farm workers in the Central Valley say their rights are being violated and they’re blaming the union. The workers are angry at the United Farm Workers of America and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board or ALRB. They say farm workers at one Valley business don’t want union representation, but they’re being forced into it.
“We don’t want the union,” says Sylvia Lopez, “Why is that so hard to get?”
Lopez is one of dozens of farm workers from Gerawan Farming that protested the ALRB and United Farm Workers along a highway just south of Kerman Tuesday.
Protestors say their big issue with the United Farm Workers Union is they say the union wants to take 3% out of their paychecks for dues. However, money has never been taken out of their paychecks before. The farm workers say it’s because after an election in favor of union representation back in 1990, a contract was never drawn up.
Workers say they’re happy with current compensation, do not wish to pay union dues
About 200 farm workers gathered Monday at the Visalia office of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, 1642 W. Walnut Avenue, to protest the United Farm Workers union. The group of protesters, which was comprised primarily of workers employed by Gerawan Farming, said that they are being forced to join the UFW against their will.
Gerawan has operations in Fresno, Madera, Reedley and Sanger. The workers assembled in Visalia because the Visalia office has jurisdiction over this particular issue.
According to the protesters, the UFW is forcing Gerawan’s employees to join the union and pay dues — three percent of their earnings — in exchange for collective bargaining rights, which workers say they do not need.
Some workers at Gerawan Farming have submitted signatures to decertify the union there.
Employees of Gerawan Farming can earn more than $15 per hour (the state industry average is $8.70) plus modest retirement and health benefits. The Gerawans also pay for the workers’ English-language instruction and their children’s Catholic school tuition.
Silvia Lopez, who has worked on the farm for 15 years, says “there’s no place that they care about safety and benefits like Gerawan,” and that workers can talk to the owners if they have a problem.
The United Farm Workers muscled its way onto the farm in 1990 but quickly lost support. In that year, the UFW won an election to organize Gerawan workers (with just 536 total votes) and in 1992 was certified by the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Yet after holding just one bargaining session, the union lost interest and never procured a contract.
Click here for the full story: The Wall Street Journal:
Two decades ago the United Farm Workers walked away from the employees at Gerawan Farming. Today, without a union a Gerawan Worker enjoys some of the best pay and benefits the industry has to offer.
Now, with its membership and funds in free fall the UFW desperately wants to grab Gerawan paychecks as a source of dues. The union is counting on a single, faceless government bureaucrat to force UFW dues and a UFW contract on Gerawan employees without even giving them a voice in the decision.
More than 2,600 of Gerawan’s workers signed a petition calling for a vote to decide their future with the UFW. The right to vote is the most fundamental protection under our constitution and under the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. The job of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is to protect that right.
Stop this outrage. Gerawan Workers never voted for the UFW two decades ago. Some of the workers weren’t even alive then. A fresh vote is needed. Our country is founded on democracy that allows people to decide their own futures, not have one government bureaucrat decide for them.
Only recently did the UFW show any interest in Gerawan workers because it has lost thousands of members and their dues. Gerawan employees have submitted signatures calling for an election to decertify the UFW, but the union would rather a government bureaucrat decide what’s best for their families.
Farm workers and their families deserve a voice. Let Gerawan employees decide for themselves.
“All we are asking for is our right to vote,” Lopez said in a release. “Less than one percent of my coworkers voted in 1990, and we just want a chance to decide for ourselves about representation.”
In 1990 – more than 20 years ago – the UFW won an election to represent the farm workers. But, they did not negotiate the terms and conditions of employment, Bauer reported.
The UFW now claims they have the right to represent the farm workers, the said.
“None of us were even here 20 years ago to vote the UFW in,” Lopez said. “Now, they just show up and want to represent us. We have a good working relationship with our employer and we don’t need representation – and we really don’t need them taking money out of our paychecks for union dues.”
From The Business Journal: ALRB: Gerawan farmworker signatures invalid