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Board Issues Decision in Mushroom Farms, Inc. (2017) 43 ALRB No. 1 (Case Nos. 2017-RD-001-SAL & 2017-RC-001-SAL)

On March 24, 2017, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (Board) issued its decision and order in the above-entitled matter.

On February 16, 2017, Antonio Gamboa (Petitioner) filed a petition to decertify the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 5 (UFCW) as the bargaining representative of the agricultural employees of Mushroom Farms, Inc. (MFI or Employer). The United Farm Workers of America (UFW) filed a petition for intervention. An election was held on February 23, 2017, with a tally of UFCW, 38; UFW, 32; No Union, 2. The UFW filed two election objections.

Board Decision and Order

The Board dismissed both objections because neither were supported by declarations setting forth facts which, if uncontroverted or unexplained, would constitute sufficient grounds for the Board to refuse to certify the election.

Objection 1 alleged that MFI agricultural employee Jose Flores, an alleged UFCW supporter, intimidated and threatened other MFI workers who supported the UFW. The Board concluded that the misconduct described in the supporting declarations was not so aggravated as to create a general atmosphere of fear and reprisal rendering free election impossible, under the test set forth in Westwood Horizons Hotel (1984) 270 NLRB 802, and applied by the ALRB in T. Ito & Sons Farms (1985) 11 ALRB No. 36.

Objection 2 alleged that voters were not fully apprised of the time of the election. The single declaration supporting this objection indicated that one worker was not told about the election time; however, Objection 2 was directly undercut by the high voter turnout recorded on the tally of ballots, and the number of additional votes would not have been sufficient to shift the outcome of the election.

A PDF of the Board's decision can be found at the following link: Mushroom Farms, Inc. (2017) 43 ALRB No. 1.

Governor Brown Designates New Chair; Appoints New Board Member

On January 13, 2017, Governor Brown designated Genevieve Shiroma as the chair of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board ("ALRB"), where she has served as a member since 1999. Shiroma served as chief of the Air Quality Branch at the California Air Resources Board from 1990 to 1999, where she was an air quality engineer from 1978 to 1990. This designation does not require Senate confirmation.

Additionally, Governor Brown appointed Isadore Hall to serve as an ALRB Board Member. During 2014-16, Hall served as a State Senator from the 35th District. During 2008-14, Hall served as an assemblyman from the 64th District. From 2003-08, Hall served as a member of the Compton City Council and from 2001-03 he served as a member of the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees. This position requires Senate confirmation.

Earlier in the day, William B. Gould IV resigned as Chairman. Gould, the Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law at Stanford University, is a scholar of labor and discrimination law and has been an influential voice on labor relations for decades. Gould previously served as the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") and consultant to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The link to the Governor's announcements can be found at: Governor Brown's January 17, 2017 Appointments.

Office of Administrative Law Approves Regulations To Implement Senate Bill 126

On May 2, 2012, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulations adopted by the ALRB on April 18, 2012, implementing Senate Bill 126 and filed the approved regulations with the Secretary of State. OAL also granted the ALRB's request that the regulations go into effect immediately upon filing, therefore the regulations are now in effect. On April 18, 2012, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB or Board) adopted regulations to implement Senate Bill 126. That bill made various changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The Board had previously held a public hearing on January 20, 2012 on the proposed regulations, hearing oral comments and accepting additional written submissions. At its scheduled February 1, 2012 public meeting the Board voted to adopt the regulations with what were considered nonsubstantive changes in response to the public comment received. While the proposed regulations were pending review by the OAL, it came to the Board’s attention that some of the changes arguably could be termed “substantive” and thus may have required a 15-comment period. Accordingly, in order to ensure complete compliance with the letter of the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (Gov. Code § 11340, et seq.), on March 21, 2012 the Board withdrew the rulemaking file from OAL and rescinded its February 1, 2012 adoption of the proposed regulations. The Board then issued a 15-Day Notice providing the public the opportunity to submit comment on the changes made. No comments were received.

Text of Amendments to Implement SB 126, as Adopted on April 18, 2012

Subsequent Histories Table

The Subsequent Histories Table has been updated to include Board decisions through Volume 38 (2012). The updated pages are page 40 and 41.

See Subsequent Histories Table for updated page.

2012-2015 Case Digest Supplements

The supplements to the ALRB Case Digest for Volume 38 (2012), Volume 39 (2013), Volume 40 (2014) and Volume 41 (2015) can be used in conjunction with the digest issued in January of 1994 and the earlier supplements previously issued.

Case Digest Merged

The Case Digest and its supplements through 2016 have been merged into one document.

See ALRB Case Digest.