U.S.: United Farm Worker 2013 election ballots counted

September 20 , 2018

Employees of Gerawan Farming – one of the U.S. largest stonefruit producers – voted by a five-to-one margin in 2013 to decertify from the United Farm Workers union, it has been revealed.

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ARLB), which oversaw the vote, had impounded the ballots. But a few days ago the California Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision by the 5th District Court of Appeals ordering the ALRB to count the ballots.

In a statement, Gerawan said the final vote count was 1,098 “No Union” and 197 for the UFW.

“Our employees have been waiting since November 2013 for their votes to be counted. After a historic struggle, they achieved that right today, in spite of the efforts by the UFW and the millions of taxpayer dollars spent by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to deny them that right,” it said.

The company said the employees “overwhelmingly rejected the UFW as their bargaining representative … in spite of the ALRB’s last-minute, election day refusal to count approximately 640 ballots challenged by the UFW.”

“A secret ballot election is intended to embody and reflect the workers’ fundamental right to choose their representation. That right is at the heart of what the Agricultural Labor Relations Act is designed to protect and promote,” it said.

“Today’s vote tally leaves no doubt what our employees want. It is a ringing endorsement of their right to choose, and a re-pudiation of concerted, unlawful, and anti-democratic efforts to deny them that right.

“We call on the UFW and the ALRB to respect the choices of farmworkers, to certify the results of the election, and to decertify the UFW. We call on the Legislature and the Governor to take immediate steps to ensure that the ALRB’s violation of the basic human rights of farmworkers never occurs again in California.”

California Fresh Fruit Association president George Radanovich said: “The determination of the employees, and their employer, in defending the rights of the employees, as well as the company, resulted in the protection of the right to choose.”

“I call upon the ALRB to certify the results of the election, and to decertify the UFW. We also impress upon the Legislature and Governor Brown to take immediate steps to ensure that the ALRB will never again have the power and ability to usurp farmworker freedom of choice and the due process rights of affected parties.”

 

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