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President's Message May 2015

President's Message

Friday, May 22nd 2015

CFFA President,

Welcome to the California Fresh Fruit Association’s website. We hope you find the information here valuable and we encourage you to contact us with any suggestions or questions.

The California Fresh Fruit Association has long been involved in labor issues in California. Given the fact that by far the largest variable cost a grower of fresh table grapes, stone fruit, blueberries, pears, kiwi, figs or apples faces is labor, it is no wonder then that our focus is always on how we can assist  in securing a stable and legal workforce. And a workforce that is not forced into a union but one that has the right to choose if they wish to be represented by a collective bargaining unit. The Association has continually emphasized that the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, created by Governor Jerry Brown in 1975, was designed not only to bring peace to the fields during a period of great unrest but to insure that the wishes of the employee, not the employer or union, were followed when it came to the question of representation and the protection for concerted activity. Since that time, far too many public officials and representatives in Sacramento have viewed the law simply as a means to expedite unionization because in their view, workers had to be better off with a union whether they knew it or not. However, the ongoing case of the employees of Gerawan Farming Inc. pushing back against forced unionization is both inspiring and historic. Recently, the California Fifth District Court of Appeals located in Fresno found in favor of Gerawan Farming and their employees when they agreed that there was an issue of abandonment by the union and that the lack of contact with the employees for almost two decades constituted grounds for questioning if the workers should have even been subjected to mandatory mediation. In addition, the court found that the mandatory mediation law was unconstitutional as its provisions violate equal-protection principles of the U.S. and California Constitutions and also represent "an improper delegation of legislative authority”. While this decision will most likely be appealed to the California Supreme Court, the reasoning put forth by the three judge panel is clearly good news for employees and will hopefully indirectly aid their case in getting their ballots counted from the November 2103 decertification election. For the sake of justice, we hope that is the result. We look forward to representing our membership and working with other associations for the overall benefit of California agriculture. Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon.

Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon.