Farm workers near Kerman protest United Farm Workers union

September 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of farm workers have walked off the job in protest of a union, they say, isn't representing them fairly. The protest is happening south of Kerman at a farm near Central and Highway 145.

Many workers with Gerawan Farming are upset that the union is coming in and asking for 3 percent of their paychecks. Workers against the union say the United Farm Workers (UFW) is unfairly representing them. They say they do not want the union. They are paid $10 an hour and get health benefits.

The last vote was in the 1990's. They have circulated a petition to get another vote, but the Agriculture Labor Relations Board de-certified the petition, saying many of those signatures were fraudulent.

"They're not asking us if we want it or not, they're forcing us to have a union and we don't want that. We have a right to vote to choose, said Silvia Lopez, anti-union.

"The workers have already benefited from having the union here, but we also want to ensure that they have their rights. That they have just cause, seniority and other protections that come with union representation," Armando Elenes, UFW.

In a statement co-owner of Gerawan Farming, Dan Gerawan said, "It is unfortunate that our employees felt they needed to take such a drastic action to have their voices heard. We are still hopeful that the Ag labor board will protect the workers right to choose. We believe that the right to choose is a fundamental right of all employees." ------

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