By: The Business Journal Staff

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s Sacramento office has reversed a decision by the regional director that would have blocked a group of Gerawan farm workers’ in their second attempt to hold an election to determine if the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) should represent them.

The result is that the regional director will count a new batch of signatures by Gerawan employees regarding whether an election should be held. If approximately 1,500 signatures are validated in support of an election, then an election could be held by the end of this week, said Paul Bauer, an attorney representing Silvia Lopez, a farmworker with Gerawan Farming Inc. who filed the second petition for decertification.

“We just want the right to vote,” Lopez said.

On Friday, Lopez delivered nearly 3,000 signatures to the ALRB, calling for an election before a collective bargaining agreement is imposed on them.  She arrived at the offices in Visalia at 1 p.m. and the board took almost 6 hours to process her paperwork.

On Monday, the ALRB said she was too late – that the ALRB in Sacramento had purportedly taken action on a few terms of a collective bargaining agreement on Friday before she filed her petition.

Bauer reported that the Sacramento ALRB determined that the regional board needed a better excuse to deny Lopez’ petition. He said his concern now is getting a vote conducted as soon as possible.

One of the requirements of a vote is having a full farm worker crew on hand. And if the vote drags too far into November, much of the farm crew would be finished for the season and out of the area.

The ALRB denied the farmworkers’ first petition filed last month – claiming that the more than 2,600 signatures filed did not demonstrate the “showing of interest” required to trigger a vote under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

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View the article on The Business Journal website here.