April 24, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Sacramento, CA – A California Agricultural Labor Relations Board judge ruled Apr. 14 that a fruit company that has resisted the United Farm Workers for more than 25 years bargained in bad faith during contract talks in 2013.
The ruling held that Gerawan Farming, the nation’s largest grower of peaches and plums, had illegally backed an effort to decertify the UFW while the talks were going on, by letting employees miss work to campaign for decertification and giving raises to some workers while engaging in a “charade” of bargaining. Administrative Law Judge William Schmidt also held that Gerawan had violated the law by refusing to sign any contract that covered workers hired through farm-labor contractors. “The judge basically said that Gerawan never intended to reach an agreement,” UFW third vice-president Armando Elenes said. Schmidt ordered the company to repay its employees for the losses they suffered as a result of the failure to bargain and give the labor board access to personnel records and work sites. The board now has to decide whether to accept the ruling, probably within 60 days. Read more