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What to do if UFW Takes Access?

Bryan Little, Farm Employers Labor Service

March 4, 2019

What should you do when you've been served with a Notice of Intent to Take Access by the United Farm Workers (UFW)?  UFW has made extensive use of their rights under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) and Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) regulations to take access to farms during recent growing seasons, and 2019's growing season is just around the corner.  

Because the UFW and other labor unions have not always been very active in recent years, it's important that farm employers understand how to handle a situation that may be unfamiliar to many farmers: you've been served with a Notice of Intent to Take Access by a union.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board's rules allow a union to petition the Board for a Notice of Intent to Take Access, or an NA, giving the union the right to take access to your farm or ranch for the purpose of meeting and talking with your workers. It is unlawful to impede this process, but the union has to follow certain rules:

  • The notice must be properly served on you;
  • The union may only take access as specific times during the day;
  • The union may not be disruptive or damage your property;
  • The workers are under no obligation to listen!

How often may a union take access?

Up to four 30-day periods each calendar year.

How does a union gain access?

By filing and serving copies of an NA as noted above.

When and where can union organizers take access?

  • One hour before work and one hour after work wherever employees gather, including in parked buses in which employees ride to and from work; and
  • During the employees' lunch period (for no more than one hour) wherever employees eat lunch.

How many organizers can take access? 

Two per crew of up to 30 employees, plus one for every 15 additional employees.

How must organizers identify themselves? 

Each organizer must wear a badge stating the organizer's name and the name of the organizer's union. In addition, upon request of the employer or employer's agent, each organizer must state his or her name and the union's name.

May organizers disrupt work? 

No, they may not disrupt the employer's property or agricultural operations. Speech alone, however, is not disruptive conduct. Disruptive organizers may be expelled.

Despite the access regulation, farm employers have certain rights to control access to their land and operations and are urged to protect those rights. They should:

  • Maintain gates and fences where possible and practical, in order to protect property and provide biosecurity and safety, and post property lines.
  • Train their supervisors to "greet" anyone seen in the field who is not an employee and ascertain their purpose in being there.Train their employees to direct anyone who is not recognized as an employee or a guest to the farm office or to a supervisor.
  • Inform employees that they have the right not to talk to anyone they don't want to talk to.

Union organizers who have entered a farm without having complied with the requirements of the access regulation are trespassing and may be required to leave.

If you need more information or require assistance in this regard, please contact FELS at 800-753-9073 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.