ALRB Chairman Gould quits in ‘angry’ rage
The ALRB’s only respected member has quit in what the Los Angeles Times describes as an “angry letter” to Governor Jerry Brown.
Adding insult to injury is that fact that ALRB Chairman William B. Gould IV, a Berkeley law professor emeritus and former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, made a show of resigning after his term had already expired, but while he remained until a replacement was confirmed.
The other two ALRB board members, Genevieve Shiroma and Cathryn River-Hernandez, are Planned Parenthood activists. Shiroma serves amid conflict of interests allegations. Shiroma’s term was renewed last summer amid what was described as a “fraudulent” Senate confirmation hearing.
Agricultural labor law is ‘irrelevant to farmworkers,’ says Gould
Gould let out a steamy “adios” in his letter to Brown. The 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA), which Brown signed during his first governorship with the approval of UFW founder César Chávez, is “irrelevant to farmworkers,” Gould said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Although the ALRB specifically states that the law shall be “impartial” on behalf of farmworkers concerning unions and employers, Gould wanted to turn the state government from its current, more passive-aggressive role, to an outright union organizer in the fields. As the Los Angeles Times reports,
Gould had attempted to remedy that situation by pushing through controversial rules that would allow the board to demand access to farms for the purpose of educating workers about their rights — for years, a role considered the exclusive bailiwick of unions such as the United Farm Workers of America.
Gould looked down on farmworkers
As ALRB chairman, Gould looked down his nose at immigrant farmworkers. He thought they were too ignorant or illiterate to read about their rights, even in their native languages.
“These indigenous languages are something that only academics read,” Gould said, arguing for government agents to go into the fields to intimidate “educate” them personally. “I don’t think that many of the farmworkers are academics.”
Gould also said that he did not want employers and employees to get along without state and union intervention – even in cases where employers provide superior wages and working conditions, and where employees vote not to have a union.
“The Board cannot permit an employer to become the benevolent champion of its employees’ rights,” Gould said.
On Gould’s watch, the ALRB spent $10 million to deprive farmworkers of their voting rights. He prevented ALRB from counting ballots – in a 2013 vote that the ALRB supervised – in which Gerawan farmworkers voted on whether or not to de-certify the UFW. The cost to taxpayers was about $4,000 per ballot.