ALRB’s Shiroma gave cash to Senator Steinberg, who then introduced legislation to empower ALRB

ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma gave a campaign contribution to state Senator Darrell Steinberg just before Steinberg introduced legislation to expand Shiroma’s power.

State Senator Darrell Steinberg took a big campaign contribution from Genevieve Shiroma before introducing legislation to expand Shiroma’s power.

The revelation is part of farmworker Silvia Lopez’s 267-page legal brief explaining why Shiroma should be disqualified to serve on the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

The Lopez brief states on page 16, “Shiroma was a political contributor to State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg just before Sen. Steinberg introduced SB 25, which would have dramatically increased the powers of the ALRB in cases involving the UFW. The bill was strongly and aggressively supported by the UFW, and Shiroma financially supported the author of the legislation.”

The brief, authored by attorney Anthony Raimondo, reads like an indictment of Shiroma for violating a series of ALRB regulations and legal canons.

Public records show that Shiroma paid a UFW lobbyist, Richie Ross, for apparently unrelated work over several years. “Of grave concern, Richie Ross has lobbied for bills that directly increased the power and influence of Chair Shiroma’s ALRB, indicating that this political entanglement is more than coincidental,” the Lopez brief says on page 9.

“Ross was involved in lobbying for State Senator Darrell Steinberg’s Senate Bill 25 (2014), would have given Shiroma’s ALRB board much more power by, among other provisions, allowing the UFW and the ALRB to unilaterally force an employer into mandatory mediation at any time,” the brief continues.

“The bill was strongly supported by the UFW, and presumably by Ross’ colleague Shiroma, because it would have increased the ALRB’s ability to empower the UFW through legal proceedings without bothering with the inconvenience of elections and counting ballots,” according to the Lopez brief.

“The bill, which was vetoed by Governor Brown in September 2014, was criticized as a bill that would have resulted in ALRB enforcement first, judgement later, a goal that characterized Shiroma’s time as Chair,” the brief said. “As the workers have learned, Shiroma has little patience for proceedings that do anything other than benefit the UFW, but has a great affinity for legal proceedings that force the union on the workers regardless of their wishes.”

After vetoing Senator Steinberg’s bill, Governor Brown removed Shiroma as ALRB chairman, replacing her with William B. Gould IV.

According to Flash Report, which broke the story, “Shiroma donated cash to Senator Darrell Steinberg just before he introduced legislation to grant more power to Shiroma’s ALRB to force union contracts on workers against their will. Citing the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the California Code of Civil Procedure, and the Code of Judicial Ethics, Lopez’s demand details how such contributions by an ALRB board member disqualify that member from adjudicating issues related to the UFW.”