ALRB spends 34% of its budget fighting Gerawan workers

The ALRB budget increases and staff increases coincide with the agency’s voter suppression campaign.

The state agency founded to defend farmworkers is spending 34% of its ever-growing budget to prevent workers’ votes from being counted. That will have totaled about $10.8 million by next year.

A recent study shows that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) will spend $3.3 million in 2016-17 to suppress Gerawan farmworkers’ votes to decertify the United Farm Workers union. (Download study: ALRB Budget Memo – February 2016)

After gearing up to prevent the Gerawan workers from voting at all in 2013, the ALRB increased its staff by 49 percent.

According to the report, “the total ALRB budget for 2016-17 is currently proposed to be $9,615,000. Thus, the estimated $3,301,462 that ALRB will spend on Gerawan Farming cases for that year constitutes more than 34% of their entire budget.”

That percentage is actually down from the 2014-15 ALRB budget, which spent 38% of agency resources to suppress the farmworkers’ ballots. The dollar amount of the budget for that year, however, was smaller.

The MB Public Affairs report says, “the total ALRB budget for 2014-15 (Actual) was $8,077,000. Thus, the estimated $3,079,500 that ALRB will spend on Gerawan Farming cases for that year constitutes more than 38% of their entire budget.”

ALRB sought and received a budget increase of 77% between the time it started going after the Gerawan workers in 2013, and the 2015-16 budget.