ALRB’s conflicts of interest with UFW deepen with Shawver’s secret return

The ALRB’s re-hiring of UFW militant Silas Shawver, after his mysterious “resignation” last year amid allegations of wrongdoing, shows that the state agency responsible for “helping” farmworkers remains in the hands of the politically favored union.

UFW represents only 1 percent of California farmworkers. Yet with the ALRB’s collusion, the UFW can control the fates of the 99 percent who have opted not to join.

ALRB secretly re-hired the disgraced Shawver in October, and promoted him to Deputy General Counsel.

Shawver was one of the top ALRB officials who tried to prevent 2,400 Gerawan farmworkers from voting to decertify the UFW in 2013, and, when forced to supervise the elections, kept the ballots and prevented them from being counted.

ALRB is trying to keep Shawver’s new role a secret. ALRB made no announcement of hiring back Shawver in October, and kept his name of the staff directory at the time.

Two months later, Shawver’s name still does not appear on the ALRB staff directory. The public listing shows General Counsel Julia Montgomery and Secretary Heidi Womer, but no Silas Shawver.

Shawver’s UFW ties are well documented

By law, the ALRB must remain impartial, on farmworkers’ behalf, between unions and employers. Court documents and public information show Shawver’s longtime collusion with the UFW.

A court transcript from October shows Shawver being grilled about his UFW bias:

“Public information has revealed that you worked as a union organizer for Unite Here, which assisted UFW when it tried to organize Giumarra. You partnered with UFW Vice President Armando Elenes when you were at CRLA immediately before you began working at ALRB. And, you maintain friendships through Facebook with UFW VP Armando Elenes and several UFW organizers such as Lupe Matinez, Eri Fernandez, Diana Tellefson, Maria Gallegos Martinez, Jennifer Hernandez, Yolanda Chacon, Reyna Madrigal Castellanos, current UFW writer and former UFW organizer David Bacon, and other UFW-related people. There are also photos of you wearing a UFW T-shirt.”

ALRB has spent $10 million in taxpayer dollars to deprive Gerawan farmworkers of their voting rights since 2013. That amounts to spending about $4,000 per ballot suppressed.

Shawver’s replacement has been with UFW since he was 12

Until 2015, Shawver had been director of the ALRB’s Visalia regional office, where he kept the Gerawan workers’ 2013 ballots locked in a safe. Shawver’s new replacement in Visalia, Chris Schneider, has been a UFW devotee since he was 12 years old, and a UFW member since he was 17.