No Verdict yet on United Farm Workers Decertification Vote
The question about what to do with the 2013 ballots in a union decertification vote by Gerawan Farming Inc. workers is still undecided. About 300 Gerawan workers gathered outside of the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno in April while the court heard the testimony of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and Gerawan in the case. The Gerawan workers wore blue shirts that stating things such as “100% trabajador real” (100% real worker), “Abandonado 20 años” (Abandoned 20 years), and “Count our votes” among others. Some of the Gerawan workers held up signs that read “ALRB COUNT MY VOTE” and “UFW GO AWAY.” A rural worker named Estela Guzmán, who lives in Madera and was at the hearing, stated the following about the case,
… I do not want [the union] to take away three percent [of my wages] that I do not need to pay. My employer pays me enough… I do not need anyone to help me. I do not need anybody’s help. I do not want a union… they need to count our votes. Because, we are the majority and [we] do not want a union.
The UFW had won an election to represent the Gerawan workers in 1990, but a decertification campaign was started in 2013 to get rid of the UFW because it has been absent from Gerawan’s fields for more than 15 years. The UFW reasserted its right to represent Gerawan workers in 2012, but Gerawan rejected the contract proposal and alleged that the union abandoned its workers for so long so that it could obtain an imposed agreement through mandatory mediation. The Agricultural Labor Relations Board ruled in April that Gerawan Farming Inc. unlawfully assisted employees who were attempting to get rid of the UFW. The 5th District Court of Appeals must decide if the ballots should be destroyed or counted, but it appears that it might take longer than people expected. We will have to wait and see what the court decides in this case.