One expert expressed skepticism Monday that a California judge will decide fairly on whether workers at Gerawan Farms will get their union decertification vote counted.
After six months of testimony, the longest labor hearing in California history, an administrative law judge with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board is expected to decide whether to count a ballot that could end the United Farm Workers of America’s involvement with Gerawan Farming. The union was absent for 20 years before it showed up demanding dues. The ballot was locked after Gerawan Farming employers were accused by general counsel attorneys for the ALRB of unfair labor practice charges.
The hearings ended Thursday and the judge is expected to take 30 days to make a decision. If he rules against the Gerawan employers, the ballots might never be counted.
Matt Patterson, the executive director at the Center for Worker Freedom, expressed concern that the judge will not make a fair decision, considering he works for the same board that charged Gerawan employers with the unfair labor practices charges.
“This judge is on the payroll of the board,” Patterson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “No one is expecting him to rule against the board.”
Patterson and CWF have been working since the beginning to bring attention to the case. CWF has stated that the farmers deserve to have their votes counted and that the ALRB has been acting biased in favor of the union.
Nevertheless, Patterson and his team are in the process of planning for either outcome. There are several options the farmers and supporters could take if the judge rules against Gerawan employers.
“We’re trying to let the process play out,” Patterson concluded.
After the hearing Edgar Aguilasocho, lead attorney for the UFW, expressed his optimism for the judge’s decision.
“I can’t guarantee what the outcome will be, but we’re confident the truth will come to light at the end of these proceedings, and that the workers will soon enjoy the benefits of the collective bargaining agreement that’s already been ordered by the state between the UFW and Gerawan,” Aguilasocho told CNBC.
Dan Gerawan, president of Gerawan Farming, hopes the decision will result in the ballot being counted so that his worker’s can have their voiced heard.
“Hopeful that there still could be justice and that our employees could be given a choice before a so-called contract is forced on them,” Gerawan noted to CNBC. “We have to remember that this is a union that abandoned the employees 20 years ago. And the notion that they could come back and force them into a contract without even giving them a choice is really sort of frightening.”
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