Gotnews.com editor-in-chief Charles C. Johnson attended a historic protest yesterday in Visalia, California in front of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
Over a thousand Mexican and Central American day laborers walked off the job at Gerawan Farming because they don’t want to join the United Farm Workers, the very union founded by Cesar Chavez.
That’s larger than any union protest ever by Cesar Chavez. Earlier this year over 2,200 day laborers walked off the job in Kerman in protest.
What the workers object to is forced unionization. In November, the workers voted to decertify their contract with the union by the ALRB refused to certify it. Wearing shirts saying “Count Our Votes!” on the front and the First Amendment on the back, the workers tried to hand a petition to the ARLB, the labor organization founded by Governor Jerry Brown.
In 1990 UFW won an election to represent the workers of Gerawan Farming, Inc. but then vanished from the scene, says Jesse Rojas, an organizer of the protests. UFW began the process of “mandatory meditation and conciliation” three years ago. The process would force Gerawan to collect three percent of wages for the union. Gerawan offers better benefits and better wages than any of its competitors.
For years the United Fruit Workers has neglected the farms. Indeed, by some estimates, only 70 United Fruit Workers in the Central Valley. There was no counter protest. “It’s dying,” says Rojas.
— Visalia Times-Delta (@vtdnews) August 27, 2014
“The employer, the company it always respects us like fieldworkers, like humans,” said Sylvia Lopez, a farmworker and one of the leaders of the protest. “They have our benefits, they have discounts, we have bonus. We have everything; it’s perfect.”
I ask myself, why are so many people against the truth & what is fair. Including news & our own government. I just want our votes counted!
— Silvia Lopez (@silvialopezfwr) August 23, 2014
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) August 27, 2014
The farmworkers are protesting because last November they took a vote to decertify their contract with the UFW. The ballots were handed off to the ALRB, which has yet to count them.
It has been 294 days since our votes were counted. Today we demonstrated again outside the ALRB office in Visalia… http://t.co/9kuJoT2BlH
— Jesse Rojas (@jessegrojas) August 27, 2014
“We don’t know how they voted because the ALRB refuses to count the vote,” says Rojas.
And for all of the talk of the Tea Party hating Latinos, Tea Party members showed up to join the protest.
“These are my brothers and sisters,” said one such Tea Party member pictured here.