Union Civil War – UFW Replaces UFCW In Ventura County – May Have Government Sponsored Health Plan to Thank
- Written by Michael C. Saqui
The United Farm Workers (“UFW”) recently won an election to replace the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (“UFCW”) at a group of growers and nurseries in Oxnard. The UFW beat out the UFCW and “no union” options by a handy 25% margin. Hiji Bros. Inc., Seaview Growers, Inc., and Ventura County Nursery will now have to bargain with the UFW. Some have speculated that recent legislative activity and the UFW’s now taxpayer-subsidized health plan may have played a role in the recent union victory. This is just the first of many battles between these two unions which are expected to continue throughout the summer.
In October of 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 145, which subsidizes the UFW’s Robert F. Kennedy Farm Worker Health Plan to the tune of $3 million per year for California taxpayers. The health plan, a trust created 46 years ago, provides medical coverage for over 13,000 farmworker families every year. Unfortunately for the health plan, the Affordable Care Act required the health plan to provide expanded healthcare coverage, which the UFW could not support without purchasing additional stop-gap insurance for any excessive claims which its cash reserves and member contributions could not cover. The funding secured by the bill allows the UFW to purchase that insurance.
- Written by Jacquelyn E. Larson
California regulations and Wage Orders 1 through 16 require that working employees “shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats...” The California Supreme Court recently helped clarify what this language means in Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
First, the court looked at the regulations’ phrase “nature of the work” in determining whether seats should be provided. The Court held that in looking at whether the nature of the work permits the use of seats, employers should not look to the full range of tasks an individual performs throughout the day. The Court rejected this “holistic” look at an employee’s duties; instead, the employer must look to the employee’s total tasks and duties performed at a given location. In other words, if an employee spends two-thirds of his day stocking shelves, and one-third of his day working at a cash register, the employer is not to consider the shelf-stocking in analyzing whether it is reasonable to give a seat for the time spent at the cash register.