July 28, 2015

UFW Files Access Notices on California Farms

UFW has been actively filing ‘Notices of Intent to Take Access’ with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). Over 30 access filings have been submitted over the last 30 days. UFW organizers have visited a number of farms along the southern and northern coasts and the Central Valley. 

In those instances when the UFW has taken access, it has typically occurred during the meal break. Organizers are asking employees about employer compliance with the heat illness regulations and passing out a heat illness compliance document asking for the workers’ contact information to be returned to the UFW. 

Should the UFW serve your company with a ‘Notice of Intent to Take Access,’ please note that the union will not be allowed to take access until such time that you receive notification from the Regional Director of the ALRB that the Access Petition has been filed.

Secondly, once properly filed, the UFW may take access to your agricultural operations three times daily: one hour in the morning before the start of work; one hour, which shall encompass the meal period; and one hour after the end of work. Two organizers per crew (up to 30 workers may take access); and one additional organizer for every 15 additional workers. Organizers must wear a badge identifying themselves by name and name of the union; and must identify themselves upon request.

Organizers may access your fields and/or employee parking lots one hour before the start of work, one hour following the end of work, and one hour which shall encompass the meal period. If employees take a 30-minute meal period, the UFW may arrive 30 minutes early, before the start of the meal period, or stay 30 minutes after the end of the meal period, with no interruption of work.

While on the premises, please have your supervisory employees vacate the immediate area where organizers may be talking to workers or distributing literature. Supervisors should be out of eyeshot and earshot –a safe distance is at least 100 yards.  Additionally, please inform your supervisors not to interrogate workers about what the UFW has said or gave to them when the union organizers leave.  This would constitute an unfair labor practice.

If you use farm labor contractors, their employees will be deemed your employees for purposes of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. Therefore, please contact your labor contractor concerning access by union organizers before they begin access. Be sure that the same rules that apply for your supervisory employees also apply for those of the farm labor contractor.

If you have on-farm rules (e.g., signing in at a gate before accessing the ranch, food safety, speed limits), it is appropriate to consistently enforce these rules with union representatives. Finally, workers should be advised that they are not required to sign union authorization cards nor are they required to provide their home addresses and telephone numbers if they are requested by UFW organizers as part of this process.

For more information, contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.