Workers At One Of Nation’s Largest Fruit Farms Win Right To Vote On Union

The workers at one of the biggest stone fruit and table grape growers in the nation, Gerawan Farming of Reedley, CA, are going to get the chance to vote on union certification after all – just as the grower had hoped. According to a statement from Ray, Mike, Dan and Norma Gerawan, the union certification vote will be held, fittingly, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, when millions of American go to the polls.

The election will come in the wake of a Friday decision by the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which vacated an earlier order that went against Gerawan Farming. The complicated situation actually goes back two decades, and had been dormant since then. That was when the United Farm Workers won the right to begin contract negotiations with Gerawan employees. After negotiations opened all those years ago, they were abruptly stopped – but by the UFW – said Gerawan attorney Ron Barsamian, who noted that very few of the company’s employees today voted in that election. Indeed, some were not even yet born.

Earlier this year, the UFW abruptly sought to have the 20-year-old election upheld. UFW officials were then quoted in a news story in The Business Journal, a Fresno weekly newspaper, that Gerawan has been stalling for many years instead of negotiating. Gerawan Farming, saying it was the union that ceased negotiating, asked for a retraction and the UFW did request a correction, but the paper stuck by its story.

In September, Gerawan Farming, saying it was fed up with the UFW’s tactics, filed a libel suit against the union. Gerawan claimed the UFW defamed its reputation and threatened to harm the company’s relationship with its employees. At peak harvest, the number of employees – including those who work for labor contractors – approaches 12,000.

At the time, another Gerawan attorney, David Schwarz of the law firm Irell & Manella, said the grower was understandably concerned with his image. “The complaint alleges that the statements made by the UFW were false and we contend they were defamatory and would injure the company,” said Schwarz, “especially in an industry where the rights of farmworkers are of great concern to the general public.”

In the Gerawans’ statement on the labor board’s decision, which was released Friday by the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, they congratulate their many workers who “prevailed in their fight for the most basic right in a democratic society – the right to vote.”

The statement continues: “An election shall be held at Gerawan Farming on Tuesday, November 5th. For the first time in over 23 years, the UFW will face the will of the workers. Today’s decision is an historic event. The victory belongs to those workers who never gave up hope that the Board would listen to their pleas. We are humbled by the perseverance of so many workers who refused to give up in their quest to hold a secret ballot election.”

The statement concludes: “We congratulate every one of our workers.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Urban vegetable farm in rural Cuba
Citrus
July 20, 2016
My First Trip To Cuba Proves Fruitful
The five-day journey was enlightening, providing participants with a better perspective of the state of agriculture in this country 90 miles off Florida’s coast. Read More
vineyard grapes winter snow
Citrus
July 19, 2016
Funds Allocated To Address Impact Of Climate Change On Agriculture
NIFA announces $8.4 for study and development of new approaches to mitigate effects of climate change. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Citrus
July 18, 2016
USDA Awards More Than $26 Million For Affordable Farmworker Housing
The funding is to support more than 400 rental units in four states. Read More
Basic tractor on the horizon
Business Planning
July 18, 2016
Financial Fortitude Key For Small Farm Success
Local threats like citrus greening create additional challenges for many of Florida's more modest enterprises. Read More
fanned out 100 dollar bills
Citrus
July 18, 2016
Bayer Ups Bid To Buy Monsanto
Reports indicate new offer at nearly $65 billion. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Farm Management
July 14, 2016
House Passes GMO Labeling Legislation
The measure will be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law. Read More
AGERpoint Inc.'s aerial LiDAR platform drone
Citrus
July 14, 2016
Look Up! Farming’s Future Is Coming In For A Landing [Opinion]
FAA's recent ruling regarding unmanned aircraft systems is good news for business. Read More
The Latest
Farm Management
July 25, 2016
Seven Reasons You Need To Attend The Uni…
Education sessions and Capitol Hill visits will focus on key issues, such as labor, facing the fresh produce industry. Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Organic Insect Control Product Available…
The mycoinsecticide is EPA registered and controls a variety of insect pests. Read More
Citrus
July 21, 2016
Farm Labor Delays Taking Toll On Crops […
When it comes down to it, we have a choice to make. We either have to import our labor, or we'll have to import our food. Read More
Citrus
July 20, 2016
My First Trip To Cuba Proves Fruitful
The five-day journey was enlightening, providing participants with a better perspective of the state of agriculture in this country 90 miles off Florida’s coast. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2016
Funds Allocated To Address Impact Of Cli…
NIFA announces $8.4 for study and development of new approaches to mitigate effects of climate change. Read More
Citrus
July 18, 2016
USDA Awards More Than $26 Million For Af…
The funding is to support more than 400 rental units in four states. Read More
Business Planning
July 18, 2016
Financial Fortitude Key For Small Farm S…
Local threats like citrus greening create additional challenges for many of Florida's more modest enterprises. Read More
Citrus
July 18, 2016
Bayer Ups Bid To Buy Monsanto
Reports indicate new offer at nearly $65 billion. Read More
Farm Management
July 14, 2016
House Passes GMO Labeling Legislation
The measure will be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law. Read More
Citrus
July 14, 2016
Look Up! Farming’s Future Is Comin…
FAA's recent ruling regarding unmanned aircraft systems is good news for business. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2016
Hail Hits Northern Michigan
Growers encouraged to act quickly while trees and plants are susceptible to disease infection. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2016
Farm Credit Celebrates 100 Years Of Serv…
Lending institution plays a critical role in sustaining Florida agriculture. Read More
Berries
July 12, 2016
Automated Strawberry Picker: One Step Cl…
Company receives U.S. Patent approval for continuous picking wheel on the machine. Read More
Fruits
July 11, 2016
‘Next Generation’ Of 1-MCP Postharvest T…
Decco/ESSENTIV’s TruPick is to be used on apples, pears, and other fruits and vegetables. Read More
Fruits
July 11, 2016
Exotic Whitefly On The Move In Florida
Reports confirm notorious Q-biotype species is now present in eight counties. Read More
Farm Management
July 9, 2016
Drought Hits Parts Of Michigan, Western …
States experiencing continuous dry months and lessening topsoil moisture. Read More
Farm Management
July 8, 2016
Senate Passes GMO Labeling Bill
The bill, which will now move to the House, would stop individual states from legislating labeling requirements that are different from the federal standards. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 8, 2016
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands In…
More townships added as small populations of the pest are found in municipalities adjacent to previously quarantined areas. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]