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Agricultural Aggravation: Labor Boards, Farmworkers, and Unions

A battle over UFW representation of Wonderful Nurseries farmworkers
Agricultural Aggravation: Labor Boards, Farmworkers, and Unions
Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 29, 2024

WASCO, Calif. (KERO) — A continued battle as farmworkers in Wasco say they gave their signatures to a union under false pretenses

  • 23ABC received statements from Agricultural Labor Relations Board general counsel, UFW communications, and the National Right to Work Foundation, which is representing two farmworkers in Wasco, for this story.
  • ALRB said through an investigation it found that Wonderful Nurseries was in violation of Califonia Labor Law in an April 22 report, and said a hearing is going on to determine the UFW certification over farmworkers that work at Wonderful Nurseries locations.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Do you understand what’s happening between the United Farm Workers, Wonderful Nurseries, and the Ag Labor Relations Board.

I’ve been trying to figure it out all day, and here’s what we’ve found.

You might remember our story from late last month, where about 100 Wasco Nurseries workers walked off the job to protest the regional Ag Labor Relations Board office in Visalia that the UFW unlawfully gained their signatures to participate in a union.

The UFW filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge through the ALRB, a state organization that administers the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, in late March: alleging Wonderful Nurseries was behind the protest and that the farmworkers protestign were doing so for fear of consequences.

Since then, The ALRB General Counsel issued its own complaint consolidated with the UFW’s to Wonderful Nurseries saying according to their findings they violated California labor codes by:

-Unlawfully assisting worker to help revoke their union cards by drafting declarations

-Unlawfully interfering with Labor Relations Act rights by holding captive meetings, and

-Unlawfully interrogating employees

Also, according to a press release from the National Right to Work Foundation, the non-profit says it is representing two employees who, “maintain UFW agents fraudulently obtained membership cards from employees and later used this as a basis to demand monopoly-bargaining power over Wonderful employees statewide.”

Later on in the press release from NRWF, it states that the two employees “along with a dozen other coworkers” are challenging the union’s card check majority certification. NRWF staff is representing the group there as well.

In email correspondence, UFW’s communications staff, said “The General Council’s complaint speaks for itself in terms of the credibility of the company's claims. The company’s claims are false, and the National Right to Work Foundation’s aligned claims are false. The NRTW Foundation sought to be an intervenor in the ongoing ALRB hearings and they were denied.”

In the press release from NRWF, the foundation president Mark Mix said “UFW union officials have treated Wonderful Nurseries workers as pawns to be used in their pursuit of power, deceiving them with no regard for their rights and now engaging in retaliation against those who exercise their free speech rights against the union.”

According to legal counsel for the ALRB, they did say a hearing with an administrative law judge is happening over Wonderful Nurseries' objections over the UFW certification.


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