Workers win their right to boot the United Farm Workers union
Big Labor took a beating in California of all places, with an appellate judge's ruling that ballots to decertify the United Farm Workers of America as the sole representative of the interests of farm workers on a Central Valley farm, would need to be counted.
According to Courthouse News:
The Fifth Appellate District in California handed Gerawan Farming a victory over the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, saying the board will have to revisit its decision to set aside an election taken by farmworkers to decertify the United Farm Workers of America as their union representative.
“Having reviewed the entire record, we conclude that several of the unfair labor practice findings relied on by the Board were unsupported by the record as a whole,” wrote Associate Justice Herbert Levy on behalf of the other two judges.
The case dates back to an election taken by farmworkers employed by Gerawan Farming, which grows fruit trees at a massive scale in two distinct locations in California’s Central Valley near Fresno.
In California, an appellate court is a fancier, higher-level court with tougher judges and higher standards than a regular superior court, and once a ruling comes from that level, the only higher level is the California Supreme Court. The union, which stood to benefit from the initial refusal to count the ballots - which stretched out for five years - of course says it will make the appeal, confident it has friends there. I don't have a sense of whether it will win there or not.
The backstory, as reported by Courthouse news, is pretty interesting: Back in 1992, the workers voted in favor of the union as their representative, and apparently UFW didn't sign them on, an odd thing, given that the farm in question, Gerawan Farming, is one of the state's biggest fruit growers. Weird stuff that they didn't zero in on that piece of low-hanging fruit. They couldn't be bothered.
Twenty years later, the union came around and called for worker dues, which the farm said would drive down worker wages and put it out of business. Well, facts are facts. A California labor board ruled that putting facts out was illegal interference in an election and decided to throw out the whole ballot, worker voices and sentiment be damned. That's why the ballots sat uncounted for another ... five years.
One can deduce that the workers lost some of their paycheck due to the unwillingly paid dues, and then the union went on to pay for leftist political candidates with it. The whole picture was one of workers losing out, both in their right to vote these thugs out, and their paychecks, too. Quite a nice thing to do for farm workers, who have a back-breaking job and low wages to start with. The farm, by the way, was the highest-paying farm for the workers in the Central Valley. It was a place you'd like to work for if you are a farmworker.
Five years later, these workers have got some measure of justice. If the vote goes as expected in the ballot count, with workers voting for decertification, the UFW should get the boot it deserves. It also stand exposed for its bad behavior, likely colluding with the California bureaucrats, to silence workers in the interest of keeping them captive. Normal organizations don't want to associate with people who don't want to associate with them. But unions are different. Their agenda is to keep workers penned up and take their money. With this appellate decision, one hopes the workers will get a refund on their unwillingly paid union dues.
Workers don't like unions who muscle them and steal their money and then tell them their opinions are garbage. I don't read anything in these accounts of a UFW charm offensive to win worker support from this Marxist-oriented union. Its record is bad, and its signature achievement has been to eliminate guest workers from Mexico, which were a good thing for the Central Valley. These necessary workers, with their bracero passes, could move across borders with the seasonal harvests just as the sun moves, and come and go with dignity. Now these farmworkers are forced to do their work as illegal aliens, something they shouldn't have to be and don't want to be, if the harvests are to be completed. Illegal alienship, of course, serves Democrat and union objectives nicely as their captive mendicant class.
No wonder the vote is likely to go against the union. Just their effort to muscle the workers and take their money is a good reason why nobody wants to be in such a union, particularly with farms across California in a labor shortage and wages absolutely going up as a result. Bad management is why workers join unions and there is no evidence this happened in the case of Gerawan Farming.
Assuming the case is not thrown out by the state Supreme Court, it will be a victory for farm workers quite impressive because it's happening in the supposedly blue state of California. It also may be part of a pattern. UFW founder Dolores Huerta's son Emilio Huerta announced he was running in a congressional race to challenge Rep. David Valadao, a conservative farmer who represents the Central Valley district and is an ally of Rep. Devin Nunes. He washed out badly. Maybe the red tide is happening.
Image credit: Martha Soukup, via Flickr // Creative Commons SA 2.0