The Corner

Economy & Business

Vindication for Gerawan Farming

United Farm Workers protest in San Francisco, Calif., in 2015. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

Last week, the results of a union-decertification election in California were released — five years after the election was held. Workers at Gerawan Farming voted to decertify their representative, United Farm Workers, by the decisive tally of 1,098 to 197.

The election had been delayed by a protracted legal battle between the workers, UFW, and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. In the 1990s, Gerawan workers had voted to certify UFW as their representative, but when negotiations between the UFW and management fizzled out, the union disappeared. By 2012, most of the workers who initially voted to certify UFW were gone. When they began to call for a decertification election, a bizarre series of events ensued, as I wrote in June:

UFW challenged the decertification push almost as soon as it began, accusing Gerawan management of illegally instigating the push for decertification and forging signatures on the initial petition. Yet it does not boggle the mind that a majority of workers would want to cast off the union — especially given that its numbers had been dwindling for years before it reached out to Gerawan, and that it opened negotiations by demanding that workers contribute 3 percent of their paychecks in dues. . . .

But the ALRB consistently came down on the side of the union. It disallowed the initial petition filed by employees to hold [the] election. When a second petition was filed, it challenged that as well. When the election was finally held, it suppressed the results.

But as the ALRB backed the union, Gerawan employees held large-scale protests against both to demand that their ballots be counted. On September 30, 2013, for instance, thousands of workers walked off the job — not to protest their employer, but to protest the roadblocks the ALRB had thrown in their way. In response, the ALRB hit Gerawan Farming with an unfair-labor-practice charge under the theory that it abdicated its responsibility by not disciplining the protesters.

The ALRB–UFW alliance — against the workers’ prerogative to choose their own representation — was broken up by a court order mandating that the results of the election be released. The California supreme court upheld that order two weeks ago, and the ballots were finally counted. Now that the union is decertified, it plans to mount a legal challenge, but its overwhelming defeat makes clear that Gerawan employees had no interest in being represented by the UFW.

Most Popular

White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More