“No Union! No Union! No Union!” After Five Years of ALRB Antics, the Voices of Thousands of Gerawan Farming’s Workers Have Finally Been Heard
For the past five years, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board has spent millions in taxpayer funds (and, by recent estimates, over $13 million) to aid the UFW in suppressing the results of a 2013 decertification election organized by Gerawan Farming’s workers to get rid of the union. On September 18, 2018, after being ordered by an appellate court to do so and having its appeal to the Supreme Court denied, the ALRB finally fulfilled its statutory duty to tally the votes of the election held in November 2013. The result is an overwhelming and resounding rejection of the UFW by the Gerawan Farming workers who voted 1,098 to 197 to decertify the UFW.
While this is an enormous victory for Gerawan Farming’s workers, it further underscores the injustice that the ALRB and the UFW have sought to inflict on both Gerawan Farming and its workers. In a normal election, the ALRB counts the votes immediately after the election, and then investigates any issues concerning the election, such as resolving challenged ballots if they are of sufficient number to affect the outcome of the election, or objections to the conduct of the election. In any event, the issues are typically resolved within several months of an election. In this case, Gerawan Farming and the workers who sought the election have had to engage in a costly legal battle, including the longest hearing ever held by the ALRB, just to have the workers’ votes counted in the first place. While there were insufficient challenges to affect the outcome of the election (635), the ALRB will need to review pending election objections and possibly hold a hearing to resolve them.
This case illustrates the UFW’s out-of-control and grossly overdeveloped sense of self-worth and entitlement, and the willingness of the ALRB to prop it up. Gerawan Farming’s workers have made it abundantly clear since the UFW reemerged in 2012 after an unexplained 20-year absence that they do not want to be represented by a union that demands union dues despite not having provided any representation.
For now, congratulations are due to Gerawan Farming’s workers who have steadfastly endured a long fight to have their voices heard, and to Gerawan Farming for staying the course to protect the rights of its farm workers in the face of the ALRB’s and UFW’s tremendous efforts to quash them. Barsamian & Moody is proud to have served as Gerawan Farming’s labor counsel in this historic battle.
The goal of this article is to provide employers with current labor and employment law information. The contents should neither be interpreted as, nor construed as legal advice or opinion. The reader should consult with Barsamian & Moody at (559) 248-2360 for individual responses to questions or concerns regarding any given situation.