- Written by Noemy Clayborn
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
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 [link here to 160510 eblast].)
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.
- Written by Jacquelyn E. Larson
In 2014, the California Supreme Court decided in Iskanian that individuals cannot be required to waive their right to be a representative and bring group/class claims under the Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA” or the “Act”). PAGA authorizes an “aggrieved employee” to bring a civil action personally and on behalf of other employees to recover civil penalties for an employer’s violations of the California Labor Code. The Act anticipates that the plaintiff will essentially act for the attorney general in enforcing the Labor Code. The Iskanian court found that an employee cannot waive the ability to arbitrate as a collective group. First, it is not the individual’s right to waive. Second, the Court reasoned that making employees bring separate claims through arbitration would frustrate the goal of the Act by creating more litigation.