After an arduous five-year legal fight, workers of Gerawan Farming Company finally got what they have been pleading for: to have their votes counted, and the results of the UFW decertification election were not close. In an overwhelming rejection of the union, the final tally was 1,098 ballots cast against having the union, and 197 for the union. There were 635 challenged ballots and 18 invalid ballots, meaning that even if every challenged and invalid ballot was cast for the union, the “No Union” side would still have won handily and that any alleged unfair practices leading up to the election had a negligible, if any, result on the outcome.
The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) was ultimately forced to count the ballots when the California Supreme Court last week refused to review the Court of Appeal’s ruling that overturned the ALRB’s decision to impound the ballots on the basis that the employer had engaged in unfair labor practices which could have potentially altered the outcome.
In response to the outcome of the UFW decertification election, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:
“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.”
Congratulations to the Gerawan workers and to Dan Gerawan for persisting and enduring in the long legal battle to ensure that justice would be done.
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