Union Activity

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:

Ballot Choice  Votes
UFW  1376
IAM-AW  290
Neither  276

UFW Files First Notice of Intent to Take Access

The season has started. The UFW has begun filing Notices of Intent to Take Access (“NA”) with the ALRB. They have also taken the unusual step of filing an accompanying Notice of Intent to Organize and a Representation Petition at the same time. This is the first filing this year:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

• Klein Management Inc. (2016-NA-001-VIS)
       • Notice of Intent to Organize (2016-NO-001-VIS)
       • Representation Petition (2016-RC-001-VIS)

More filings are expected and we will continue to send updates.

NA filings are only effective for 30 days.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

Please contact The Saqui Law Group if you have any questions about your rights concerning union access on your property or any filings against your company.

UFW Secures First Renewal Contract In Four Years

Pacific Triple E, a tomato grower and shipper in Tracy, has reached agreement on a 3 year renewal contract with the UFW and the 450 farmworkers it represents.

Contract Highlights:
•    Piece rate increased such that employees will make $19.84/hour on average.
•    “Best rate paid for tomato growers in the U.S.” according to the UFW.
•    Includes paid holidays, and bonuses

Bargaining History:
•    First renewal agreement for the UFW since 2012.
•    The UFW was certified to represent Triple E workers in 1989.
•    The previous contract covered a peak of 800 workers.
•    Previous contract included pension plan, grievance procedure, seniority system, and three paid holidays.

The UFW Is Knocking – Now What!?

The Saqui Law Group is receiving reports the UFW, in connection with their filed Notices of Intent to Take Access (“Notice of Access”), has been calling employers and demanding under the threat of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act’s (“ALRA”) Unfair Labor Practice (“ULP”) mechanism that employers disclose all locations of all ranches and the times of employee lunch periods. This is not true.

Employers are not required to disclose information to the UFW. Any requests should be immediately referred to The Saqui Law Group.

You can find the Saqui Law Group’s Cheat Sheet on Access in English HERE and in Spanish HERE.

Permitting Access

Once a valid NA is filed with the ALRB, the UFW may take access to your agricultural operations 3 times daily: one hour in the morning before the start of work; one hour during the meal period; and one hour at the end of work.

While on the premises, please have your supervisory employees vacate the immediate area where organizers may be talking to workers or distributing literature. A safe distance is at least 100 yards. Additionally, please inform your supervisors not to interrogate workers about what the UFW has said or gave to them when the Union organizers leave. This would constitute an unfair labor practice.

If you use farm labor contractors, their employees will be deemed your employees for purposes of the ALRA. Therefore, please contact your labor contractor concerning access by Union organizers before they begin access. Be sure that the same rules that apply for your supervisory employees also apply for those of the farm labor contractor.

If you have rules in place with regard to signing in at a gate before accessing the ranch, please make sure that Union organizers sign in and have appropriate identification signifying that they represent the UFW. While on the premises, indicate to the Union organizers that they are not to access the actual rows where crops are grown and harvested. Also, driving vehicles on the company premises should be kept to no more than 1 to 2 miles per hour. You may want to document the names of the organizers who come to the ranch at the front gate.

During next week, it might be appropriate to have all of your gates locked with the exception of a main gate for ingress and egress of agricultural workers and Union organizers. Placing an hourly employee at the front gate would also be appropriate.

Recent Filings

Date         Employer and Case #
6/26/15    Corralitos Farms 2015-NA-005-SAL
6/26/15    Garroutte Farms Inc. 2015-NA-004-SAL
6/26/15    Ortega Berry Farms, LLC 2015-NA-003-SAL
6/25/15    Rocha Farms 2015-NA-002-SAL
6/25/15    Larse Farms Inc. 2015-NA-001-SAL
6/24/15    Rogina, Inc. 2015-NA-001-VIS
6/24/15    Live Oak Farms 2015-NA-002-VIS

Counsel to Management:

If the UFW – or any other union, organization, or agency, for that matter – shows up at the door, take the following actions immediately:

1) Demand to see their filed Notice of Access

        -Remember, Notices of Access are not valid unless they are properly filed with the ALRB, contain a valid case number, signature, and a stamp in the upper right hand corner.

2) Send a copy of the Notice of Access, or any other documentation, to The Saqui Law Group immediately

3) Refer all future communications to The Saqui Law Group

Please contact The Saqui Law Group if you have any questions about your rights concerning union access on your property.

!!ALERT!!  UFW Taking Access To Fish For OSHA Violations!

The UFW’s annual “shotgun approach” to gaining ALRB-provided “Access” is well underway throughout the State. The Saqui Law Group is keeping you abreast as best we can, and we are offering training next Thursday (7-9-15) at the Grower-Shipper Association in Salinas. Stay tuned for time, and for Statewide training programs in your area!!!

Our consultant team, as always, has its feelers out, and has picked up more activity in the Central Valley which shouldn’t surprise anyone. This year, the UFW is actively conducting a campaign to take access on Grower worksites to talk to workers about heat illness prevention and distribute related "educational" literature that contains the insignia of the UFW and a symbol of the heat illness prevention campaign of Cal/OSHA. They did this in 2013 with immigration, so these tactics are no surprise.

Copies of the UFW’s flyer and questionnaire can be found here, here, and here.

 

Notably, a settlement agreement was in fact struck between the UFW and Cal/OSHA, which outlines a role for the union for reporting allegations of heat illness prevention standard violations,HOWEVER THAT AGREEMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE IN ANY WAY FOR ACCESS ONTO PRIVATE PROPERTY TO EDUCATE WORKERS.  

Counsel to Management:
Information gathering is key!

If you have information that such access is being taken under the auspices of heat training please notify The Saqui Law Group immediately so we may provide you with the guidance to deal with such abuse of the access regulation.

The UFW have recently filed the following Notices of Intent to Take Access (“NA”):

Date              ALRB Filing and Case #

6/26/15    Corralitos Farms LLC 2015-NA-005-SAL
6/26/15    Garroutte Farms Inc. 2015-NA-004-SAL
6/26/15    Ortega Berry Farms, LLC 2015-NA-003-SAL
6/25/15    Rocha Farms 2015-NA-002-SAL
6/25/15    Larse Farms Inc. 2015-NA-001-SAL
6/24/15    Rogina, Inc. 2015-NA-001-VIS
6/24/15    Live Oak Farms 2015-NA-002-VIS

As you may be aware, this is only the beginning of what is sure to be a very busy season!

Employers need to be aware that in order for a Notice of Intent to Take Access to be valid, it must include a valid case number and signature along with a stamp in the upper right hand corner. Employers need to know the following:

 A Few Points of Clarity

1) Notices of Intent to Take Access are not valid unless they are properly filed with the ALRB, contain a valid case number, signature, and a stamp in the upper right hand corner.

2) In the past, the ALRB has called employers to inform them that a Notice of Intent to Take Access has been filed on the company. A call from the ALRB does not constitute service.

3) The ALRB has also called employers to schedule visits by the UFW. The ALRB cannot make an appointment for the UFW to come and take access to your property.

4) Employers should limit the number of people taking access to their property to the minimum required by the law. The Saqui Law Group has provided a Cheat Sheet to assist employers in navigating access by unions on your property.

More filings are expected and we will continue to send updates.

You can find the Saqui Law Group’s Cheat Sheet on Access in English HERE and in Spanish HERE.

Counsel to Management:
Employers must be ready to counter the UFW’s organizing attempts. Have a contingency plan in place prior to the UFW filing access against you. Contact the Saqui Law Group if you need assistance to implement a contingency plan to counter the UFW’s organizing efforts.

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