April 15, 2015
One of the country’s largest fruit growers has joined with national anti-union policy groups in an effort to gut California’s Agriculture Labor Relations Act, which enables unions to request a mandatory mediator if growers won’t agree to a first contract. Workers at Gerawan Farming voted to join the United Farm Workers in 1990, but the company has refused to sign a contract for 25 years.
When the UFW asked for a mediator in 2013, Gerawan hired a former employee to try to get workers to decertify the union, handing in forged petition signatures. After the state farm-labor board charged Gerawan with violating the law for refusing to accept the mediator’s contract, the company, backed by three trade groups, filed an appeal to have state courts rule mandatory mediation unconstitutional. The Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence in Claremont, which supported the Harris v. Quinn suit against the Service Employees International Union in Illinoisand Hobby Lobby’s refusal to pay for employee health insurance that coveredbirth control, is also backing the suit. Read more