Alameda County supervisors unanimously urge Central Valley grower to obey the law
Alameda County supervisors unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday calling on Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc. to implement its farm workers’ union contract that was issued in 2013 by a neutral mediator and approved by the state. Gerawan, one of the nation’s largest tree fruit and grape growers, sells its produce in the Bay Area under the Prima label. The company, with 5,000 workers at peak season, is avoiding millions of dollars in pay increases and other benefits by refusing to honor the union contract.
Dozens of Gerawan farm workers traveled by bus from the Fresno area, joining local supporters as they waved United Farm Workers’ black-eagle flags and held signs urging Gerawan to “Obey the law” and “I want my contract” outside the County Administration Building in Oakland. Then they attended the board hearing where the measure authored by Supervisor Richard Valle was passed on a 5-0 vote.
The resolution calls upon Gerawan Farming “to immediately implement the union contract issued by the neutral mediator and the state of California.” For the official resolution, see http://www.acgov.org/board/bos_calendar/documents/DocsAgendaReg_05_12_15/PAL/CAO_217844.pdf
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors became the latest public body to take a stand on Gerawan. The Washington, D.C. City Council passed a similar measure on a 12-0 vote on May 5, 2015. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Oct. 22, 2014. See: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-union-fresno-farmworkers-20141022-story.html The San Francisco Board of Supervisors enacted a measure March 31. The L.A. Unified School District Board of Education’s resolution passed on Feb. 10. See: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-la-unified-backs-ufw-20150210-story.html
An administrative judge with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board recently ended six months of hearings in Fresno on sweeping complaints or indictments from state prosecutors charging Gerawan with flagrant legal violations aimed at “prevent[ing] the UFW from ever representing its employees under a [contract]” and at decertifying, or getting rid, of the UFW, according to the ALRB general counsel, who issued the complaints. http://www.ufw.org/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=gerawan_legal&b_no=15722&page=1&field=&key=&n=11 The latest state-issued complaint says, “Gerawan and its supervisors” unlawfully supported workers who “stopped work and engaged in anti-UFW and anti-ALRB protests [to promote] decertification [and that] Gerawan…coerc[ed] workers into participating in protests,” and closed its fields, directing workers to pro-company demonstrations. Gerawan also engaged in threats, interrogation and surveillance of workers, state prosecutors allege.
Meanwhile, Gerawan reacts to the indicting complaints by claiming without any proof that state investigators and prosecutors are biased with help from Grover Norquist’s sophisticated Washington, D.C.-based PR campaign. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arturo-s-rodriguez/bigmoney-radical-right-gr_b_5786868.html
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