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Appellate Court Orders ALRB to Count Gerawan Farming Employee's UFW Decertification Votes

Bryan Little, Farm Employers Labor Service

May 30, 2018

The 5th District Court of Appeal today ordered the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) to count Gerawan Farming Company’s employee ballots cast in a 2013 election seeking to decertify the United Farm Workers union (UFW) as their collective bargaining representative.  

UFW won an election to be the collective bargaining agent for Gerawan Farming employees in 1990, but abandoned efforts to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.  UFW demanded Gerawan resume bargaining in 2012 and invoked “mandatory mediation and conciliation” in 2013.  The mandatory mediation and conciliation process, added to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act by the California Legislature in 2002, allows the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to impose a labor contract on the parties.   

ALRB's imposition of a labor contract triggered an effort by Gerawan employees to decertify the union but ALRB has refused to count the ballots in that decertification election, citing allegations of unfair actions by Gerawan that may have tainted the vote.

FELS' parent organization, California Farm Bureau Federation, teamed up with Western Growers Association, the California Fresh Fruit Association, and the Ventura County Agricultural Association on a friend-of-the-court brief encouraging the appellate court to order ALRB to count the ballots.