Farm Workers Protest Against Union - Say Their Rights Have Been Violated

Farm workers in the Central Valley say their rights are being violated and they're blaming the union. The workers are angry at the United Farm Workers of America and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board or ALRB. {}They say farm workers at one Valley business don't want union representation, but they're being forced into it.

"We don't want the union," says Sylvia Lopez, "Why is that so hard to get?"

Lopez is one of dozens of farm workers from Gerawan Farming that protested the ALRB and United Farm Workers along a highway just south of Kerman Tuesday.

Protestors say their big issue with the United Farm Workers Union is they say the union wants to take 3% out of their paychecks for dues. However, money has never been taken out of their paychecks before. The farm workers say it's because after an election in favor of union representation back in 1990, a contract was never drawn up.

The workers say 2600 of them signed a petition to put United Farm Worker representation up for a vote. However, they say their petition was rejected. The workers say the ALRB told them they don't have the required 50% of employee signatures. So, the protestors say the vote didn't happen.

"We feed California and we feed other countries," adds Lopez, "The least we can have is an election."

A new petition is being passed around, because the workers say they don't need the union. They maintain that their job has benefits and good pay. They add they don't want to pay a union that hasn't been around to help them.

"We aren't getting paid anything to do this and there's no reason for them to lie to make our life harder than it is already," says Belen Solano.

KMPH called the ALRB to find out why the petition was not accepted and why the United Farm Workers are trying to represent the workers after all this time. Our phone call was not returned.