Gerawan Farming Decertification Election Results Finally Counted, Employees Overwhelmingly Rejected UFW Five Years Ago
- by Robert Schaulis
FRESNO, CA - Last week, the California Supreme Court rejected a bid by the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) to overturn a court order directing the ALRB to count the ballots in the decertification election held by Gerawan Farming workers in 2013—a monumental moment for Gerawan and what could be the end of one of the largest decertification elections in California agricultural labor history.
This week, the votes were counted, with the company reporting 1,098 votes for "No Union" and 197 for the UFW—results that conclude the employees have rejected the UFW as their bargaining representative.
"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," Gerawan said in a statement following the tally. "Today’s vote tally leaves no doubt what our employees want. It is a ringing endorsement of their right to choose, and a repudiation of concerted, unlawful, and anti-democratic efforts to deny them that right."
Gerawan concluded its statement by calling on the UFW and the ALRB to respect the choices of farmworkers, as well as calling on the Legislature and the Governor to take immediate steps to ensure a case like this does not occur again.
In response to the results, Western Growers’ President and CEO, Tom Nassif, issued a statement, asserting, "It took a decision of California’s highest court to force, once and for all, the ALRB to do the right thing and count the votes of Gerawan Farming’s workers. With a resounding vote against the union, we now know the reason behind the ALRB’s delay tactics, which lasted nearly five years. The ALRB knew or believed the outcome of the vote was No Union and was attempting to shield the UFW from the humiliation of its irrelevance. It is clear that the UFW does not represent the voice of California’s farm workers, and the results of this election must compel the State of California to stop acting as a surrogate of the UFW and move instead to guarantee justice for all agricultural workers."
George Radanovich, President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, also applauded today’s outcome and stated, "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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