On September 28, 2016, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) prevailed in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), displacing the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM-AW) as the chosen bargaining representative of workers at Foster Poultry Farms’ facilities in Livingston, California. The tally from the election was:
This is not the first time the UFW has succeeded in a campaign in California under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as opposed to California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA). It is, however, a noteworthy result because it is indicative of the UFW’s ongoing campaign to unseat unions that have traditionally represented workers governed by the NLRA – the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in particular. (See our previous article, Union Civil War – UFW Replaces UFCW In Ventura County – May Have Government Sponsored Health Plan to Thank.)
Also, the UFW recently hired an attorney from the NLRB to help with its campaigns, signaling the UFW’s intent to continue creeping onto the UFCW’s turf. The UFW’s Robert F. Kennedy Farm Worker Health Plan – now significantly subsidized by the State of California – remains a strong selling point for the UFW. The UFW also continues to claim credit for California’s recent minimum wage hike and the new AB 1066 overtime rules for farmworkers.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
This election confirms that the UFW is looking to expand its focus out of the fields and into secondary commercial operations (for example: packing/processing plants) and other such operations within the purview of the NLRB. Employers must continue to prepare for the consequences of competing unions battling over their workers and must refrain from creating any appearance of support for one union over another. If your company is facing an election or union organizing, turn to the experts at The Saqui Law Group.