Congratulations to the Gerawan Farm Workers!

Posted by Olivia Grady on Monday, October 8th, 2018 at 2:22 pm - Permalink

On September 18, 2018, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) finally counted the votes for an election that took place five years earlier.

The Gerawan farm workers voted to decertify the United Farm Workers (UFW) by a 5 to 1 margin. The vote count was 1,098 for “No Union” and 197 for the union.

Gerawan Farming has approximately 5,000 workers, and the UFW listed about 10,000 people as members in 2017. 

Interestingly, the UFW was originally certified in 1990 after Gerawan farm workers voted for the union. However, the UFW never signed a contract with the company, Gerawan Farming.

It was only in 2012 that the union became interested in these workers. They asked for their information and requested negotiations. They also demanded 3% of their salaries in 2013. Less than 1% of the workers by this time had actually voted for the union in 1990. The UFW and Gerawan Farming had 10 bargaining sessions.

However, in March 2013, the UFW invoked Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation, and while Gerawan participated in the process, they argued that it was unconstitutional. On November 5, 2013, the farm workers voted in the election. Despite this election, the Agricultural Board forced a contract on November 26, 2013 before the votes had been counted.

Later, Silvia Lopez, a worker, and Gerawan Farming each tried to resolve this issue in the courts. However, the Agricultural Board ordered the election ballots to be destroyed on April 15, 2016. Gerawan appealed this decision to the Fifth District Court of Appeals and saved the ballots.

More than another two years passed before the workers finally got their victory.

In response to the decertification, Gerawan expressed his support for the workers and said, “"They fought for the same basic right to choose that all workers in the state enjoy. I'm immensely proud of them."

The UFW can still appeal the decision.

The Center for Worker Freedom congratulates these workers on a tremendous victory. The Center for Worker Freedom was proud to be involved in this decertification. In fact, in 2014, CWF launched a billboard campaign under Matt Patterson’s leadership, CWF’s former Executive Director.