UFW VP ‘Chilito’ Elenes: Credible to attack Gerawan, but otherwise a liar, Soble says

UFW Vice President Armando Elenes is a liar, but is a reliable witness against Gerawan employers and workers, according to the ALRB’s own administrative law judge.


A California judge found UFW Vice President Armando “Chilito” Elenes was “lying” in his testimony to ALRB.

Elenes is the UFW vice president who “was in charge of running” the union organizing campaign among Gerawan workers in 2012-13. That reference, on page 42, is used to attack Gerawan.

Buried further into the ruling is ALRB administrative law judge Mark R. Soble’s reiteration of a September 2015 ruling in which he called Elenes a liar. Elenes was one of many witnesses before Soble’s hearings for the ALRB to destroy the Gerawan worker ballots.

In a footnote to his original 192-page ruling in September, Soble said that the UFW vice president was “lying” under oath to cover up the “smallness” of the union’s membership. Soble used nearly identical language in his 279-page ruling, issued April 15, to destroy the Gerawan farmworkers’ ballots.

I complete[ly] discredited the testimony of four witnesses Ogarrio, Salazar, Ramirez and Elenes for the reasons that will be discussed below,” Soble wrote on page 63.

Elenes, Soble said, encouraged union organizers to lie to workers. Citing an organizer named Ramirez, Soble wrote, “Ramirez did not recall Elenes directly saying that the organizers should tell the workers to lie, but he felt that Elenes insinuated it.” (p. 66)

On pages 69 and 70 of the ALRB’s April 15 ruling, Soble calls Elenes a liar again. “I reach the inescapable conclusion that Elenes was lying when he stated that he was unable to give an estimate as to the number of UFW does-paying members,” Soble writes. “As a result, for me, this seriously undermined the credibility of Elenes as to his other answers.” (pages 69-70)

On page 153, Soble writes, “I gave less weight to most of Elenes’ answers given my distrust of his earlier testimony regarding the number of dues-paying UFW members.”