Hundreds of CA Farm Workers Walk Off Job to Protest Union Grab
In Fresno County, California, some hundreds of workers have walked away from their jobs at Gerawan Farming in protest at the United Farm Workers, a union that the workers have been forced to join by the state of California. The union has attempted to seize some three percent of each worker’s paycheck based on a union vote two decades ago. The union has been completely inactive at Gerawan Farming since it was established. Workers at Gerawan make $10 per hour and receive health benefits. That is significantly higher than industry standard, and the union simply wants employee cash based on negotiations that never involved the union. “They’re not asking us if we want it or not, they’re forcing us to have a union and we don’t want that,” said Silvia Lopez, one of the employees. “We have a right to vote to choose.”
Lopez filed a petition with the Agriculture Labor Relations Board for decertifying the union on September 19 with over two thousand signatures asking for a vote. The ALRB promptly ruled that approximately 100 of the signatures were invalid, which would not be enough to invalidate the petition – but then declared without giving supporting information that the petition was invalid thanks to an insufficient number of signatures.
“This Petition is invalid because it has not been accompanied by an adequate showing of interest,” the ALRB wrote. “The showing of interest has not been met because a determinative number of the signatures submitted were of questionable authenticity.” Gerawan Farming wrote a letter to the ALRB stating, “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.”
“None of us were even here 20 years ago to vote the UFW in. 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,” Lopez complained.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).