How can UFW represent farmworkers, when it has so few members?
How can a group with a tiny membership claim to represent the vast majority who are not members?
Somehow the UFW does it.
By some counts, the UFW represents less than 1 percent of California’s farmworkers.
The UFW claims only 10,000 members, at most.
And even that number is dubious, since it represents a spike that doubled membership in just a year – the same year the UFW claimed to represent the 5,000 or so Gerawan farmworkers who were trying to decertify the union.
So the UFW’s real membership is probably only about 5,000 – if that. The union has faked its membership number for years.
During the late César Chávez’s time, the UFW claimed 50,000 workers. Then, under its present leadership-for-life, the UFW’s numbers collapsed.
UFW repeatedly reports fake membership numbers
Even those collapsing numbers were fake. “From 1995 to 1999, the UFW claimed membership of 26,000 on reports filed annually with the U.S. Department of Labor. The union upped that figure to 27,000 in 2000,” the Los Angeles Times reported in 2002.
“Here they are portraying themselves as the voice of California farm workers, and yet they represent less than 1%,” said Rob Roy of the Ventura County Agricultural Association, who prompted a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that forced UFW to revise its numbers sharply downward.
After that – each year from 2002-2012 – the UFW reported to the U.S. Department of Labor that it had about 5,000 members.
Then, in 2013, when UFW was trying to claim 5,000 Gerawan Farming workers as members, the union spiked its official numbers to 10,278, according to union facts.com.
The UFW’s financial numbers showed no increased income from dues, so we have to conclude that, once again (and under the same old leadership), the UFW’s numbers were fake.
ALRB said UFW lied about its ‘smallness’
UFW Vice President Armando Elenes lied during testimony to hide what a state administrative judge called the “smallness” of the union. Last year, in 2015, Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) Judge Mark R. Soble said that Elenes lied during a hearing to conceal “the smallness of the existing UFW membership.” This was an especially devastating blow, because the ALRB has been in cahoots with the UFW for years.
ALRB Chairman said union work had ‘completely disappeared’
Earlier this year, ALRB Chairman William Gould, without lamenting the UFW by name, lamented the fact that union activity “has completely disappeared among farmworkers.”
“Union organizational activity in California agriculture at this moment is completely moribund,” the pro-UFW Gould said.
In a blistering indictment of the UFW, adding an exclamation point to his written remarks, Gould said, ““union organizing has diminished to the point of non-existence!”
Tiny membership doesn’t represent hundreds of thousands of farmworkers
California is home to between 500,000 and 800,000 farmworkers, according to the Center for Farmworker Families.
The number could be even higher. FarmworkerJustice.org estimates the total farmworker population in the United States at 2,500,000 people. “Between 1/3 and 1/2 of all farmworkers in America reside in California,” says the Center for Farmworker Families, working from a different set of figures to arrive at its 500,ooo-800,000 range. If that percentage estimate is applied to the FarmworkerJustice figures, then California could be home to between 833,000 and 1,250,000 farmworkers.
So even being generous with the UFW’s certainly fraudulent claim of 10,000 members, the union represents between 0.8 and 1.2 percent of California farmworkers, or an average estimate of 1 percent. The more likely figure is half that, meaning that UFW’s 5,000 or so members represent only 0.4 and 0.6 percent of California farmworkers.
So who does the UFW represent?
The answer is that the UFW doesn’t represent California farmworkers at all. The union that César Chávez founded no longer represents the downtrodden. It has been hijacked by the political elites in Sacramento for their own purposes.
That’s why the UFW endorsed Wall Street’s favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton, over progressive Bernie Sanders in the California primary.
And that’s why the UFW and the Sacramento elites are in common cause to disenfranchise farmworkers by denying them their rights to de-certify the union. And why the UFW is saying nothing about the terrible conditions of berry farm workers, siding with Driscoll’s instead of siding with the workers their alternative union.