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Central Valley Anti-Union Farm Workers Protest In Sacramento

Diana Aguilera
Valley Public Radio

Central Valley farm workers rallied today in Sacramento against what they say is a violation of their rights.

About 20 anti-union farm workers showed up at the state capitol protesting against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers. The group says the union and the ALRB are denying employees of Fresno-based Gerawan Farming their rights by forcing them into a union contract. 

In 2013, company employees held a union decertification election, but the votes have yet to be counted after allegations the company interfered with the process.

Farmworker Silvia Lopez is a leader of the anti-Union group. She claims the majority of Gerawan employees don’t want the union to represent them or take their share of wages.

During the protest, Lopez came face to face with Marc Grossman, a spokesman with the United Farm Workers.

Lopez: “Why you don’t count the votes so you can count who wants the union and who doesn’t want the union?" Grossman: "There’s a judge that’s been hearing testimonies since September."Lopez: "One of your friends?" Grossman: "No, it’s an independent state agency that has nothing to do with the UFW."

The protesters also allege that the ALRB has close ties to the union.

Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
During the protest Silvia Lopez talks with Marc Grossman, a spokesman with the United Farm Workers.

The dispute began in 1992 when Gerawan workers voted to organize with the UFW, but the union and the company never agreed on a contract. In 2012, the union returned and asked to have a new contract imposed by a mediator.

The dispute remains before the ALRB. 

Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.
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