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
FruitsWorkshop Set In Florida To Help Grow Local Food Movement
March 2, 2015
Meeting part of nationwide effort to train people how to attain grants for USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agritainment [Opinion]
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
Apples & PearsCompany Responsible For First GMO Apples Is Sold
February 27, 2015
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company behind the world's first non-browning apples, fetches $41 million. Read More
Stone FruitPeach Training Systems Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
February 27, 2015
Although pedestrian, ladderless orchards are increasing in California, growers in Pennsylvania are opting for tall V-training systems. Read More
FruitsNo Federal Water For California’s Central Valley Growers – Again
February 27, 2015
Skimpy snowpack leads Bureau of Reclamation to make unprecedented announcement that there will be a zero initial allocation for the second year in a row. Read More
Apples & PearsThe Recession That Keeps On Taking
February 27, 2015
We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Recession on consumers’ purchasing habits seven years later. Read More
The Latest
FertilizerValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications In…
March 4, 2015
Transaction fueled by technology platform that promises to bolster biorational business. Read More
FruitsWeed Identification Guide Now Available For Growers
March 4, 2015
New free guide from Ohio State University offers high-definition pictures to help growers identify weeds. Read More
FruitsWest Coast Ports To Open With New Contract
March 3, 2015
Western fruit, vegetable industries lost millions when unable to export produce at ports. Read More
FruitsWorkshop Set In Florida To Help Grow Local Food Movemen…
March 2, 2015
Meeting part of nationwide effort to train people how to attain grants for USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agrit…
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
FruitsNo Federal Water For California’s Central Valley Grower…
February 27, 2015
Skimpy snowpack leads Bureau of Reclamation to make unprecedented announcement that there will be a zero initial allocation for the second year in a row. Read More
FruitsMaximize Produce Profits By Focusing On Soil Health
February 27, 2015
Cover crops are just one of the ways you can help boost your trees’ and vines’ performance and your bottom line. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Progr…
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
FruitsHave Faith In Science – Which Means GMOs [Opinion…
February 25, 2015
When it comes to farming, sticking with established, commonly accepted science is the way to go. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 4
February 25, 2015
Creating fruiting walls with mechanical hedgers can help increase light interception in the canopy, say researchers and growers. Read More
Food Safety“Dirty Dozen” List Authors Say Conventionally Grown Pro…
February 25, 2015
Sound science prevails and consumers are encouraged to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusFDA, Federal Partners Develop New Method For Attributin…
February 25, 2015
Data was analyzed from nearly 1,000 outbreaks to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
FruitsFrom The Road: North American Farmers’ Direct Marketin…
February 25, 2015
Bus tours, workshops, and breakout sessions aimed to get farm marketers ready for the next season with creative and innovative ideas. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusPacked Political Agenda On Tap For Florida Farmers
February 23, 2015
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s board of directors are working on a number of key issues that will be front-burner throughout 2015. Read More
Apples & PearsThe State Of Mechanical Apple Harvesting
February 23, 2015
Breakthroughs in mechanization have been a long time coming, but recent advances combining the skills of both people and machines are bringing efficiencies to orchards of all sizes. Read More