Shiroma’s secretive ALRB has no public events on its calendar

The secretive Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is in virtual shutdown since Genevieve Shiroma’s reappointment to the board last summer. At least in public.

Despite ALRB’s doubled budget to go after the Gerawan farmworkers who challenged the UFW, nothing appears on ALRB’s public calendar.

Earlier this year, state Labor Secretary David Lanier agreed with an audit that ripped ALRB for being a wasteful, abusive, unaccountable organization.

Yet ALRB doesn’t seem to have learned anything. It keeps a paranoid silence. The board didn’t even issue a press release announcing Governor Brown’s reappointment of Shiroma or her Senate confirmation. It hid from documented allegations of Shiroma’s flagrant conflicts of interests.

ALRB’s only press releases since June 20 are a promotion of a United Farm Workers comment, a June regulatory change, and three case decisions in August.

Secretive work with inflated budget to fight Gerawan workers

The ALRB’s budget ballooned in the past three years to help the UFW invalidate the ballots of 2,600 Gerawan farmworkers who voted on de-certification of the union in 2013. The agency has spent $10,000,000 to avoid counting the ballots – and plans to destroy them – at a cost of about $4,000 per ballot.

That’s 34% of the ALRB’s entire budget.

So why is the ALRB acting even more secretly now? To keep from being a political liability against the UFW’s presidential candidate during an election year?

Farmworkers, the courts, lawmakers, and media have already blasted ALRB for its excessive secrecy.

As its longest-serving board member, Shiroma has dominated the ALRB for years. During her June 20 Senate confirmation hearing before a packed audience of senators and farmworkers, a defensive Shiroma insisted that the was “absolutely an honorable person.” A courageous ALRB staffer braved termination of her employment by telling senators why Shiroma was unfit for another term on the board.

And now the entire board is silent.