California Agricultural Labor Board Has New Chairman – Union Control Remains Absolute
LRemoving all doubt that the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board is a Marxist tool for unionization, William B. Gould IV, Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointed Chairman of the board, announced his resignation Friday, in a cranky letter complaining that farm workers don’t want to join the United Farmworkers Union.
Gould’s resignation also proved that he never was an unbiased arbiter of the agency, despite proclaiming his “commitment to the principles of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975.” The labor Act guarantees farm employees the Agricultural Labor Relations Board “of providing a process for the peaceful and orderly resolution of agricultural labordisputes. The ALRB believes that the resolution of disputes at the earliest stages best serves both labor an growers.”
Gould’s latest unionizing scheme to send ALRB “educators” to farms to inform workers of their rights, apparently failed and was the deal breaker.
“In an angry letter addressed to Brown, Gould also characterized the 1975 law creating the labor board — a signature achievement of Brown’s first term and a milestone in the farmworker movement led by Cesar Chavez — as ‘irrelevant to farmworkers,’ who know little about its provisions and are mostly not unionized” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Gould had attempted to remedy that situation by pushing through controversial rules that would allow the board to demand access to farms for the purpose of educating workers about their rights — for years, a role considered the exclusive bailiwick of unions such as the United Farm Workers of America.”
Not so fast Los Angeles Times…
The real story is about Gerawan Farming, and its 5,000 employees, targeted since 2012 for unionization by the United farm Workers Labor Union. But the Gerawan workers fought back against unionization, even holding an ALRB election to try to decertify the labor union – largely because most farm workers have no interest in “organizing,” and losing 3 percent of their pay as mandatory dues. While most of Gerawan’s employees are well-compensated full-time workers, many farm workers are seasonal and work in various locations around the state. I have been told by many workers they don’t see any advantage to the union “stealing” their hard-earned income for dues.
When the UFW couldn’t convince Gerawan’s employees to join them, the union leaders turned to Gould and his ALRB minions to force them into the union.
“In his resignation letter, he noted that only one petition for unionization had come before the board during his tenure, and that 99% of field workers are not unionized,” the LAT reported. This is correct. The ALRB has spent the bulk of its time on petitions from workers trying to kick out the UFW, than on petitions to join the union.
And in the world of Jerry Brown and his fellow travelers, this is unacceptable.
This is Communism in State Government
The Communist Party USA has a long history closely tied with the U.S. labor movement and believe the state maintains control over the “exploited classes.”
“The UFW spends most of its time in Sacramento, lobbying for laws and regulations, and has ‘absolutely no interest in organizing the unorganized,’ Gould said in a telephone conversation,” the LAT reported, and did not challenge.
The truth is quite the opposite. As the United Farm Workers labor union and the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board have found themselves on the brink of extinction and future irrelevance, they joined forces to reverse their misfortune by targeting one of the biggest non-union farming operations in the state. Should they ever succeed in unionizing the 5,000 Gerawan Farming employees, it would more than double union membership, and certainly boost the ALRB’s status.
The wrangling with the United Farm Workers Labor Union began again in October of 2012, when the union insisted that a collective bargaining agreement covering Gerawan workers be reactivated — even though there had been no union involvement with the workers for more than 23 years. Some of the workers then began a process for a vote to decertify the union, and forced the decertification election. The ALRB promptly declared “misconduct,” and locked up the ballots.
Gerawan filed a constitutional challenge against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, with the United Farm Workers of America named as a “Real Party of Interest.” In the California Court of Appeal, Fifth District in Fresno, Gerawan challenged the ALRB’s invocation of the California’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Statute. Gov. Gray Davis signed the MMC statute into law in 2002.
Why the ALRB persists in its blatantly unconstitutional policy of barring workers from proceedings where their working conditions and wages are being addressed was the crux of the issue. Gerawan called on the ALRB to rethink its position and agree to open proceedings despite the UFW demanding them closed.
The ALRB’s mission is to protect workers first and foremost. “The secret hearing policy is obviously unconstitutional and the ALRB should stop wasting taxpayer dollars defending it,” farming owner Dan Gerawan said after the hearing.
Gould’s Legacy is on of Corruption
In his letter, Gould admits the ALRB has nothing to do because there is no union organizing actually taking place, but by 2015 under Gould’s chairmanship, the ALRB doubled their staff and budget to terrorize Gerawan and its workers. This agency, with such abuses of law, and with a dismal track record, as well as multiple losses in court, should be disbanded.
Spending $10 million ($4k per ballot) to suppress the freedom to choose of thousands of the industry’s highest-paid farmworkers: http://prima.com/ALRB-Taxpayer-Funded-Vote-Suppression/
Trying to force a contract on thousands of farmworkers against their will. (A clause in the faux contact would prohibit the employees from continuing their strike protests against Gould’s ALRB.)
Banning workers from attending the “public” ALRB sessions where ALRB wrote a faux contract to force on the workers against their will and without the workers’ vote.
Proposing outreach to farmworkers, but then after farm workers took a bus trip to meet the ALRB board in Sacramento, Gould refused to meet with them, and used the trip against the workers, claiming it was a valid reason to destroy the workers’ ballots.
Oh Jerry, Where Art Thou?
Gov. Brown did not directly respond to Gould’s letter, the Times reported. Rather, he immediately promoted board member and former Chairwoman Genevieve Shiroma as Chairwoman once again, and appointed former state Senator Isadore Hall, 45, another Democrat, to the board. Hall, an openly gay black man, is notorious for keeping a bowl of condoms on the reception desk in his Capitol office, and authoring a bill requiring porn actors to use condoms… not so much legislation promoting the well-being of California farm workers.
Shiroma as Chairwoman has a dubious history on the ALRB of gross union bias and has displayed disgraceful behavior as a state official who sits in judgment of others. In April Shiroma, one of the three-member California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, voted to set aside their own November 5, 2013 decertification election of the United Farm Workers at Gerawan Farming, and destroy the Gerawan employees’ ballots. Yet the Democrat-run Senate voted to confirm her reappointment to the ALRB.
There are nearly one million farm and agricultural workers in California, yet the United Farm Workers labor union represents less than 4,000 of them. Still, Gov. Jerry Brown continues to help the UFW limp along, assisting the union to terrorize well-run, law-abiding farming businesses with countless lawsuits, and harassing them with unreasonable and illegal demands.
The corrupt ALRB is not only working overtime to deprive Latino farm workers their right to vote on labor union representation, it is now the state board where washed-up state legislators and useful idiots go to serve.
“The Marxians love of democratic institutions was a stratagem only, a pious fraud for the deception of the masses. Within a socialist community there is no room left for freedom.”
― Ludwig von Mises
About the Author: Katy Grimes is an investigative journalist, Senior Correspondent with the Flash Report, and Senior Media Fellow with Energy and Environmental Institute. A longtime political analyst, she has written for The Sacramento Union, The Washington Examiner, Watchdog.org, The Pacific Research Institute’s CalWatchdog, The San Francisco Examiner, The Business Journal, E&E Legal, The Sacramento Bee, Legal Insurrection, Canada Free Press, and Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette, and can be heard regularly on many talk radio shows each week. This report originally appeared in Frontpage Mag and is republished here with permission from the author.