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But information pieced together from my own interviews with workers is consistent with testimony by one of the former agents that the UFW would simply hand in a large number of authorization cards to be used whenever the union files a notice of intent to organize:
I noticed there was a big tub with literally hundreds of authorization cards by the United Farm Workers Union, and I kind of thought that was something very unique. . . .
Q: . . . What was unique about that?
A: Well, the proper procedure [etc.].
And this wasn’t happening.
Q: What did you observe happening?
A: That the UFW would just go in and file these certification petitions on the basis of this bank of cards that were banked with the ALRB. When this agent raised the issue with his supervisor at the regional ALRB office, he said he was told “that it was a totally legitimate process and I should keep my mouth shut.” He then approached the ALRB’S general counsel about the matter.
Q: What did he say?
A: Number one, that it wasn ’t any of my business and I shouldn’t be taking a position like that and as far as he was concerned, that the burden placed upon the employers was inconsequential in relation to the advantages that the workers in the union could gain. Another agent revealed an ALRB practice with respect to the lists of all employees’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, which are to be supplied by employers once a union has filed a notice of intent to organize. According to the agent, some employers were objecting to giving the information as an invasion of employees’ privacy. (And in fact, some workers have resisted this requirement, fearing union harassment.) So the ALRB would conduct what this agent called “guerrilla raids” at harvest time to com- pile the lists by talking to each employee individually.
. . . when you went out there and talked to these people then you would take each person one at a time and sit them down and ask them, “What’s your name, what’s your address,” and explain to as much time as possible at each ranch. Again, the question of propriety was raised, but the agent recalled in his testimony that an ALRB official responded: “Well, the important thing is to get the lists. . . and then if we are found out later, you’ve got some state immunity and we have accomplished the task.”
This ALRB agent also testified that the raids were coordinated with the UFW so that “union representatives were always there when we went out to the field,” and that the UFW told ALRB agents they would all be fired if the raids weren’t conducted. When questioned, the agent confirmed:
Well, that pressure was kind of always there. I mean, it became more evident at other times and in this case, yeah we didn’t get the lists pretty soon, you know. . . .
The UFW files charges of unfair labor practices (ULPS) against growers the way some people eat popcorn. Once a ULP charge is filed, the next step is for ALRB agents to make an investigation, resulting either in dismissal of the charge or in the issuance of a complaint that eventually goes to an ALRB hearing. The impartiality of the procedure may be gleaned from thefollowing sorts of sworn testimony from former ALRB agents:
. . . the regional director there. . . wouldn’t let me go to do investigations unless I was accompanied by a UFW agent, On numerous times, he ordered me to take a UFW agent.
Q: And do you believe or is it your conclusion that is not appropriate?