Fresno County officially recognizes ALRB abuse of farmworkers
In a historic gesture of solidarity, the County of Fresno has officially recognizes that the ALRB has been abusing thousands of farmworkers.
The County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation designating March 28, 2017 as “Dignity and Right for Valley Farmworkers Day.” Pick Justice leader Silvia Lopez and other movement leaders joined the elected officials who signed the proclamation.
This recognition, three days before César Chávez Day, reads like an indictment of the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB).
The county proclamation vindicates everything that Pick Justice has been saying about the abusive ALRB. Here are the key points:
- Farmworkers have the right to vote on whether to be in a union, to ratify a union contract, or de-certify a union;
- Valley farmworkers should be able to decertify a union that has ignored them for almost 20 years;
- The ALRB spent more than $4,000 per ballot to oppose farmworkers who wanted their ALRB-supervised votes to be counted;
- The ALRB has been trying to “force a government-written contract” on thousands of local farmworkers without counting their votes;
- The ALRB has been trying to force that contract while denying workers the right to petition for another decertification vote;
- The largest farm labor protests in Fresno County history are the ones directed against ALRB abuses; and
- The California Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the ALRB’s forced contract scheme is unconstitutional.
Proclamation is an indictment of ALRB
The proclamation recognizes the rights of farmworkers, then slams the ALRB with a list of grievances that reads like an indictment. Here’s the full text, with our emphasis added:
“Whereas – farmworkers in Fresno County deserve the same dignity and rights as all Californians in that they should be able to vote on whether to be represented by a union, whether to ratify a contract and whether to decertify a union that has had no contact with them for almost two decades; and
“Whereas – the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board has spent over $4,000 per vote using taxpayer dollars to oppose thousands of Fresno County-based farmworkers who want their votes counted in an election that was organized and supervised by that same Agricultural Labor Relations Board; and
“Whereas – the Agricultural Labor Relations Board has tried to force a government-written contract on thousands of Fresno County-based farmworkers without counting their votes and without allowing a ratification vote even though that government-written contract would bar the employees from petitioning for another election for years; and
“Whereas – the largest farm labor protests in Fresno County’s history have taken place in the last few years and have been directed against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, yet the government-written contract would strip the workers of the protected right to continue to protest the Agricultural Labor Relations Board; and
“Whereas – the California Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s government-written forced contracting scheme to be unconstitutional,
“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Fresno County Board of Supervisors hereby proclaims March 28, 2017 as ‘Dignity and Right for Valley Farmworkers Day’ in the County of Fresno.”
Pick Justice thanks the County Board of Supervisors
Not only did the County of Fresno Board of Supervisors agree completely with Pick Justice’s grievances. The Board also invited Pick Justice leaders to join in the proclamation signing ceremony.
Special thanks go to Supervisors Chairman Buddy Mendes and Supervisor Andreas Borgeas!