The stonefruit grower and its employees have been involved in an ongoing dispute with the board, after the United Farm Workers (UFW) union used the Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation (MMC) statute to justify mandatory unionization.
Workers organized a vote to decertify their membership with the UFW, but the ALRB questioned the validity of the votes amidst allegations Gerawan had given unlawful support to the efforts.
However, the recent ruling deemed the MMC statute was the “very antithesis of equal protection” and improperly delegated legislative authority to an unelected state agency.
“As the present case illustrates, where a union has arguably abandoned the employees but later returns to invoke the MMC process, that situation may create a crisis of misrepresentation,” the court held in a 58-page opinion.
Company co-owner Dan Gerawan declared the ruling as a significant victory for the group’s employees, his family and the entire industry.
“The Court’s ruling vindicates our argument that no state agency should be able to unilaterally impose a contract on workers without a vote or force it on employers without their consent,” he said.
“This decision is a significant win for all agricultural workers, who justifiably deserve the freedom to choose representatives to speak for them at the bargaining table.”