HMC Farms Vaccinates Farm Employees

HMC Farms Delivers COVID-19 Vaccinations to Agriculture Workers

 

HMC Farms, based in Kingsburg,  has announced the successful distribution of 450 COVID-19 vaccines to agricultural employees in California’s Central Valley.

HMC Farms recently hosted vaccination clinics that distributed hundreds of COVID-19 vaccines to employees of HMC and several nearby businesses in the ag industry. More vaccinations are on the way as the first recipients near the second dose time frame.

HMC Farms is a family-owned and operated business, and the McClarty family values their employees as an extension of that family. Sarah McClarty, Chief Financial Officer of HMC Farms, stated at the event, “To watch every employee in our organization who wants a vaccine receive one over the last two days has been the biggest win in what has been an extremely challenging twelve months. Partnerships with the California Farmworker Foundation and Elite Medical that were in place prior to the pandemic have played a huge part in HMC’s continued efforts to support our employees’ health and well-being, and are what made this week’s event possible.”

At the vaccination event, it was clear to see that people were relieved to have vaccines available to them. Several employees were seen having their photos taken while receiving the vaccine to share with friends and family. “This is such a relief,” said one employee as she received her shot. Another employee commented, “The distribution process for vaccines has been confusing. It’s so helpful that HMC was willing and able to bring vaccinations directly to us.”

The past year has been difficult for people and industries around the globe, and the ag industry has felt the weight of keeping employees safe and healthy while maintaining the food supply. Speaking about the partnership with the California Farmworker Foundation which helped make the vaccination even possible, Harold McClarty, owner and Chief Executive Officer of HMC Farms, expressed gratitude. “We have all struggled during these very difficult times,” said McClarty. “We are very grateful and supportive of all the work that this organization has done for farmworkers. It gives us some hope that we will persevere and continue to move forward with our work to support the nation’s food supply.”

HMC Farms is located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, and has been family-owned and operated since 1887. All of their produce is grown sustainably, protecting the land, water, and people who make it possible to deliver delicious peaches, plums, nectarines, and table grapes year after year. To learn more, visit https://www.hmcfarms.com/ 

 

2021-05-13T16:11:22-07:00March 4th, 2021|

New Director of Trade At CA Fresh Fruit Assoc

Caroline Stringer is New Director of Trade. at CFFA

The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Caroline Stringer as its new Director of Trade. Ms. Stringer comes to the Association after serving as a Public Affairs Representative at Pacific Gas & Electric. Prior to her role with Pacific Gas & Electric, Caroline served as the Senior Specialist on Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs for the California Almond Board.

The Chairman of the Board for the Association, Randy Giumarra of Giumarra Vineyards Corp., stated, “We are very pleased that Caroline has agreed to become a part of the team at CFFA. Her personal background and education, as well as her extensive experience working in the area of trade will bring immense value to our membership.”

Association President Ian LeMay added, “We are extremely fortunate to have Caroline joining the CFFA team. The issues of trade and access into foreign markets is of paramount importance to our membership, possibly now more than ever. Caroline brings an extensive educational and professional background to this position and we are excited to see the work she does on our member’s behalf. We believe that Caroline is a natural fit, along with our current staff, to continue to bring value to CFFA members and to serve the California fresh fruit industry.”

Ms. Stringer is a graduate of San Francisco State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations. She also earned a Master of Arts in International Trade Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Ms. Stringer’s first day at the Association will be Monday, January 6th.

2019-12-18T13:25:55-08:00December 20th, 2019|

Teaching Kids to Cook California’s Bounty

California Farmers Donate Fruits Vegetables, Nuts and Beef to Cook

 

About 2,725 Consumer Science (formerly home economics) high school students at 15 different high schools will learn how to cook with locally grown produce and meat. The San Joaquin Chapter of California Women for Agriculture (SJ CWA), San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation (SJFB) have partnered to locate more than 500 pounds of cheese, olives, pumpkins, dry garbanzo beans, walnuts and beef for the students to cook this semester.

For three consecutive weeks starting October 22 and 29 and November 5, 2019, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the San Joaquin Office of Education in Stockton, each teacher will receive two commodities, recipes and handling material to share with their classes. The local agriculture organizations hope to both teach students what is grown locally and showcase the freshness of locally sourced produce.

The fresh pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans provided by the San Joaquin Chapter of Women for Agriculture were donated by local pumpkin grower, Van Groningen and Sons of Manteca (vgandsons.com) and the Rhodes-Stockton Bean Co-Op of Stockton. SJ CWA provides this “hands on educational” cooking opportunity for local high school students enrolled in consumer science courses to give them a snapshot of the variety of crops and commodities grown/raised in San Joaquin County. Teachers and students are provided with a variety of educational information regarding the nutritional value of each of the commodities along with cooking tips and recipes.


SJ CWA Chapter President, Dr. Marit Arana, said, “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the commodities grown and raised in our county. We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with our donors and for our partnerships with both the San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation. It takes a team effort to bring an educational experience of this size and scope to so many students within our county.”

San Joaquin County Agriculture is ranked seventh in the nation in dollar value at $2.5 billion and sixth out of 58 counties in the state. California produces about 400 different agriculture commodities and about half the fruits and vegetables in the United States.

###


October 22, 2019 – CWA donation of pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans

October 29, 2019 – CattleWomen donation of walnuts and beef

November 5, 2019 – SJFB donation of table olives and cheese

Pick-Up Times – From 4:00pm to 5:00pm at 2911 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA. under the solar panels in Stockton at the San Joaquin Office of Education

For information contact:
Lora Daniels
916-215-1494
SanJoaquinCWA@gmail.com

2019-11-01T16:43:07-07:00November 8th, 2019|

Cover Crops Research

Cover Crops Increase Iron Availability

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

How can cover crops be a benefit to pear orchards? Juliana Wu was in the horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Program at UC Davis Study studying the benefits of cover crops.

“You’re looking at how the cover crop can benefit the pear roots and also the pear nutrition potentially as well as soil health,” said Wu.Cover crops as well as legumes which can fix nitrogen, will help in increasing nutrient uptake in crops.” 

Cover Crops in Pears Can Help with Nutrient Uptake

“I think the unique piece that I am adding is that cover crops such as legumes can acidify the soil which could potentially change nutrient availability,” said Wu. This is beneficial particularly in Lake County where their soils tend to have a lot of calcium carbonates and are more alkaline. There is low iron availability that can lead to chlorosis. “We are hoping to see that the cover crops can increase iron availability either through releasing chelators or through decreasing pH,” she said.

Wu’s main goal is to prove how cover crops such as legumes can have a benefit to pear orchards rather than compete with them for nutrients.

For more information on cover crops click here.

2019-08-01T09:58:58-07:00August 1st, 2019|

Ian LeMay is New President of California Fresh Fruit Association

Former President George Radanovich Goes Back to Washington 

 News Release

This week, Randy Giumarra, the Chairman of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) Board of Directors, announced that Ian LeMay will serve as the new president of CFFA. LeMay will succeed George Radanovich, who has held the position since 2016 and will be leaving CFFA to promote sound ag labor policy in Washington, D.C.

Ian LeMay

Giumarra said, “Ian’s appointment is a reflection of our Board’s commitment to establishing long-term leadership for our industry.”

He continued, “Our board and I have worked closely with Ian over the past four years. We are confident in his abilities and look forward to his leadership. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank George for his time, leadership, and impact that he has made over the last three years. George’s service is greatly appreciated by our entire membership.”

LeMay has dedicated his career to supporting and advocating for the continued success of California agriculture. Since 2015, LeMay has served as CFFA’s Director of Member Relations and Communications.

From 2011 to 2015, LeMay served as the District Director for Congressman Jim Costa, who represents California’s 16th Congressional District. As District Director, LeMay managed the Congressman’s district staff and advised the Congressman on a number of issues, including agriculture, water, and transportation. Prior to working for Congressman Costa, LeMay worked as a California Market Specialist for the Lindsay Corporation. LeMay is a recent graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 48).

California Fresh Fruit Assocation“I am humbled and appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the members of the California Fresh Fruit Association in a new capacity,” LeMa said. “I came to the Association four years ago because I believe in its mission, deeply respect its history and see infinite potential in advocating for the permanent fresh fruit growers and shippers of California. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe two great Association leaders in Barry Bedwell and George Radanovich, and thank them for their commitment to bettering our industry. The challenges that face us are many. These have not been easy years for our industry, but I remain confident in the future of California agriculture and our opportunity to advocate for meaningful policy with a unified voice.”

LeMay will begin his tenure as CFFA President on June 1st. Ian and his wife, Molly, reside in Fresno with their two children, Emery Rose and Ellison James, and will welcome their third child this August.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

For more than eighty (80) years the California Fresh Fruit Association has been the primary government relations organization serving the fresh fruit industry. It is a voluntary public policy organization that works on behalf of our members—growers, shippers, marketers, and associates—on issues that specifically affect member commodities: fresh grapes, kiwis, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines, interspecific varieties, plums, apples and persimmons. It is the Association’s responsibility to serve as a liaison between regulatory and legislative authorities by acting as the unified voice of our members. The challenges are countless for growers, shippers, and marketers as they strive to remain viable in an ever-changing market. Increasing regulatory requirements make it difficult to flourish, regardless of the size of the operation.

The Association’s dedicated staff advocates daily in the best interest of our members to ensure that regulators and legislators are using sound science and accurate information when considering laws or rules that will be imposed on industry members. However, aside from the variety of issues the Association works on, there is an important networking component. As each company has its own business interest, the membership as a whole shares a common, vested interest in the long-term health of tree fruit, fresh grape and berry communities in California.

2019-05-15T14:55:48-07:00May 15th, 2019|

California Fresh Fruit Association: Top Issues in 2019

Immigration and Labor Cost are Big Issues

News Release

The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) recently announced their Top Issues for 2019. Members were surveyed in December 2018 and ranked the top issues for CFFA to concentrate on in 2019.

George Rodanovich

President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, George Radanovich, stated “As in years past, our membership has given us strong direction in identifying their top priorities for 2019. The issues of labor, water, and food safety, will lead our list of issues. CFFA will continue to serve as the primary liaison between regulatory and legislative authorities by acting as the unified voice for our members on these and many other issues.”

Here are the results:

1) Federal Immigration Policies Addressing Current and Future Labor Force

2) Increasing Wage Costs (Base Wages/OT Thresholds)

3) Water Supply Availability and Curtailment

4) Immigration Enforcement (ICE)

5) Groundwater Management Requirements (S.G.M.A.)

6) Labor Regulatory Compliance

7) Water Quality Requirements and Clean Drinking Water Liability

8) Federal and State Food Safety Compliance Requirements

9) Health Care Costs (Policy Costs/Paid Sick Leave)

10)  Plant Health Materials (Pesticide, Herbicides, Fungicides, etc.)

As always, it will be the Association’s goal to work on behalf of its members to address these issues and many more, in an effort to create a better working environment for their businesses.

2021-05-12T11:01:50-07:00January 15th, 2019|

Radanovich: President Trump Needs to Enact Immigration Reform

Congress Will Not and Cannot Do it Alone, Radanovich Says

By Hannah Young, Associate Editor

The future does not seem bright for California farmers who are desperately searching for labors to harvest crops. California Ag Today spoke with George Radanovich, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association and former U.S Congressman, about the need for immigration reform.

George Radanovich

Radanovich spent 16 years in Washington, D.C, and from his experience is not convinced that Congress alone will make immigration reform right for California farmers.

“I think that we need to get to President Trump and suggest that he intervene by direct talks with Mexico and create a system that will not leave our farmers high and dry,” Radanovich said.

In order to assure that farmers have enough labor for harvest, immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country as long as they are working during the time the government is implementing a new system, affirming border control, and e-verifying immigrants, Radanovich explained.

However, getting a system of this type will be tough to get past Congress due to a large portion feeling that every farmer worker is probably illegal and needs to go back to Mexico or any other foreign country.

“They don’t get it because they don’t live here, most of them, so they don’t understand how the system works,” Radanovich concluded.

2018-08-17T16:37:35-07:00August 17th, 2018|

Kroger Backs off “Net 90” Payment Plan to Produce Shippers

Produce Industry Gets Praise for Unified Voice on the Matter

News Release

The California Fresh Fruit Association is pleased with Kroger’s recent announcement that produce shippers will not have to comply with its new “Net 90” payment plan.

California Fresh Fruit Association President George Radanovich stated, “We appreciate Kroger’s acknowledgment that the ‘Net 90’ payment plan didn’t work for the produce industry. We stand by our position that Kroger’s original push to implement its plan was wrong and illegal.”

To force suppliers to forfeit their rights under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), an act created specifically to protect the perishable fresh fruit industry, was unconscionable and should never have been proposed.

Radanovich continued, “We would like to commend the fresh produce industry for coming together as a unified voice for our industry. Today we held the line on an important issue.”

Radanovich concluded, “As I’ve stated before, the fresh produce industry has been a good partner to Kroger; we appreciate that Kroger remembered that partnership and fixed the mess it created.”

2018-07-11T16:40:06-07:00July 11th, 2018|

Who Safeguards CA Farm Workers’ Rights? Part 4 – Motion to Disqualify ALRB Member Hall

ALRB Rejects Gerawan’s Motion to Disqualify Isadore Hall III

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Our ongoing coverage of developments among United Farm Workers (UFW), Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), Gerawan Farming, Inc. and California farm workers chronicles the continuing, increasingly complex quagmire that masquerades as protecting California farm workers’ rights.

In short, after a series of legal volleys between Gerawan Farming and ALRB this past spring, the ALRB, again, refused to disqualify ALRB Member Isadore Hall III, former state senator (35th District, D-Compton), from participating in specific Gerawan legal cases on the basis of alleged pro-UFW bias.

In legal terms, ALRB issued an administrative order on June 9, 2017, denying Gerawan Farming, Inc.’s May 23, 2017 motion for reconsideration of request to disqualify Isadore Hall III from participating in specific case deliberations and decisions regarding Gerawan Farming, Inc.  Likewise, ALRB also denied Gerawan’s request for a stay of the proceedings pending resolution of Mr. Hall’s participation.

BACKGROUND

Condensed Early History

The UFW was certified as the bargaining representative for Gerawan’s agricultural employees in July 1992, after a 1990 election. After one preliminary negotiating session in February 1995, the UFW disappeared for almost two decades, having never collected dues, negotiated for a wage increase, attempted to bargain for a contract or filed a single grievance on behalf of Gerawan employees during their abandonment, according to an April 17, 2017, Gerawan news release.

In 2013, the UFW  invoked a controversial 2002 Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation (MMC) law that allows the ALRB to draft and impose a “contract” on the employer and employees against their will. UFW also proposed that Gerawan employees pay 3% of their wages to the UFW or be fired. Fewer than 1% of the current Gerawan workforce voted in the 1990 election, and many current employees were not even born when that election took place.

California Gerawan farm workers harvesting tree fruit

California farm workers harvesting tree fruit

The majority of employees twice asked ALRB for an election to decertify the UFW. At the ALRB’s request, the Fresno Superior Court intervened and supervised the decertification petition processthe first time in ALRB history that a court oversaw an ALRB election.

On November 5, 2013, thousands of Gerawan workers cast secret ballots to decide whether to decertify the UFW. The ALRB impounded the ballots, which remain uncounted to this date in an undisclosed (possibly insecure) location.

 

Current History – 2017

Appointment of Isadore Hall III to ALRB

In his January 13, 2017, letter of resignation to Governor Brown as ALRB Chairman, William B. Gould IV stated that the Agricultural Labor Relations Act [ALRA or “Act”] “is now irrelevant to farm workers, in particular, because, for the most part, they are not aware of the provisions, procedures, and rights contained in the law.”

“I have pointed out [in several speeches] that only one representation petition has been filed during the 34 months of my Chairmanship,” Gould continued. “More than 99% of the agricultural workforce appears to be unrepresented and the instances of unfair labor practice charges and invocation of the Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Act (MMC) are few and far between.”

William Gould, IV, former ALRB chair

William Gould, IV, former ALRB chair

“Regrettably, though the Board adopted the proposed rule 14 months ago for worker education about the Act’s features, the rule has languished in the bowels of state bureaucracy for the past 14 months. My view is that this long delay is substantially attributable to the fact that the ALRB, unlike the NLRB, is not a standalone, independent administrative agency.”

Also on January 13, 2017, Governor Brown designated Genevieve Shiroma as Chair of the ALRB, where she had served as a member since 1999, an appointment that did not require Senate confirmation. Likewise, Governor Brown appointed Isadore Hall III, and the California Senate confirmed his appointment, despite Hall’s public history of pro-UFW activity and endorsements and allegations that he threatened farmers who opposed his nomination.

 

Agricultural Community Responds to Hall’s Appointment

In Farmers Deserve a Balanced Ag Labor Board,”a letter published in the Sacramento Bee on February 23, 2017 by George Radanovich, (president of the California Fresh Fruit Association), Joel Nelsen (president of California Citrus Mutual) and Tom Nassif (president of Western Growers Association), the authors explained, “The purpose of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) was to bring about a sense of justice and fair play during a tumultuous time in the farm fields of California in 1975.”

“When the ALRB was formed in 1975,” the authors stated, “it was with the understanding that membership would consist of two members representing labor, two representing agriculture, and one public or neutral member. Instead, the board has become one of the most contentious, lopsided administrative boards ever assembled by the state of California. The recent resignation of Chairman William Gould IV and his prompt replacement by former state Sen. Isadore Hall, D- Compton, only further illustrate this imbalance.”

Tree fruit farm worker in California.

Tree fruit farm worker in California.

In place of conducting outreach to all affected stakeholders, including agriculture, “in a matter of 48 hours, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a termed-out state senator and failed congressional candidate who has no labor law background whatsoever but with strong ties to the UFW.”

Hall’s UFW ties were listed as “financial support by the UFW, personal ties with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and raising the union banner while marching with the UFW. While a state senator, Hall was the principal co-author of two UFW-sponsored bills and voted in favor of two other bills that would make it easier to force ALRB-written contracts on farmers and workers. These close ties should disqualify him from the position where he will judge UFW issues almost daily.”

“There is no denying that the ALRB’S recent decision to prevent the disclosure of the November 2013 election results, from the high-profile decertification fiasco of Gerawan Farming of Fresno was to cover up the fact that most farm workers don’t want to unionize.”

“Today, California farm workers are protected by the strictest labor laws in the nation, and they decline to unionize because they value a good employer over a union. Brown should recognize this and rewrite the ALRA to guarantee employer representation on the board. California farmers deserve better than a lopsided Agricultural Labor Relations Board.” 

 

ALRB Decides Gerawan Negotiated “in Bad Faith”

On April 14, 2017, ALRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) William Schmidt issued an interim decision finding that Gerawan committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to negotiate “in good faith” with the UFW. Essentially Judge Schmidt contended, “Gerawan engaged in collective bargaining negotiations with the UFW with no intention of reaching an agreement covering the wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment for the employees in the collective bargaining unit.”

According to David Schwarz, counsel for Gerawan Farming, “This decision was riddled with legal and factual errors. The most glaring of these errors was the fact that ALJ Schmidt found that Gerawan failed to negotiate when it had already been ordered to [follow] a process [MMC] where traditional give-and-take negotiation had been replaced by government-imposed forced contracting.”

According to an April 17, 2017 Gerawan newss release, “The so-called MMC procedures are neither consensual nor voluntary. It is forced contracting. The ALRB tells the employer what wages to pay, what employees to hire, or fire, or promote, and what portion of the employees’ salary will be turned over to the union. The employer may not opt out and the employees are not given the choice to ratify or reject the so-called contract that will be forced on them, even if there are provisions detrimental to them.”

“There is a fundamental – and constitutional – difference between consensual bargaining and state-compelled contracting,” said Dan Gerawan, president and CEO of Gerawan Farming. “The ALJ obliterates this distinction.”

Gerawan added that MMC does not facilitate negotiations. Rather, it is an imposed agreement by force of law and Gerawan was compelled to abide by it.

Schwarz explained, “Per the ALRB’s own regulations, MMC kicks in only after the Board has certified that further negotiation between the parties would be futile.”

At that point, according to Schwarz, a government-appointed arbitrator steps in, hears evidence from each party, drafts a CBA (or collective bargaining agreement), which the Board approves and imposes on the parties by force of law. Since there is no place for negotiation in this process, Schwarz contends there is no logical or legal basis for ALJ Schmidt to conclude that Gerawan’s conduct during MMC could justify his finding that Gerawan failed to negotiate in good faith with the UFW.

 

Gerawan Files Motion to Disqualify Member Hall from participating in “Bad Faith” Negotiating Case
Isadore Hall III UFW flag ALRB

Isadore Hall III with UFW flag prior to his appointment to the ALRB.

On April 28, 2017, Gerawan Farming, Inc. filed a Motion to Disqualify Board Member Isadore Hall from participating in the deliberations in the case above based on documented “sweeping prejudicial” statements Member Hall made against Gerawan.

“Our DQ motion was very compelling,” Dan Gerawan said. “Hall marched specifically against us and our employees and received an endorsement from UFW in return. It’s ridiculous that he was assigned to a job where 90% of his work will be to adjudicate UFW-related issues, and half of his work will be Gerawan-related.”

 

ALRB Rejects Gerawan’s Motions to Disqualify ALRB Member Hall and to Request a Stay from Participating in “Bad Faith” Negotiating Case

On May 18, 2017, the ALRB rejected Gerawan’s motions to disqualify ALRB member Isadore Hall and to request a stay in order to resolve the motion to disqualify.

“Hall’s disqualification would leave the ALRB without a current valid quorum of three members to hear the case,” Schwarz said, “thus lacking the statutory power to act. The Governor can resolve this issue by simply doing what the ALRA requires him to do –  appoint two additional ALRB members, thus bringing the Board to its statutorily-requisite composition, which is five members.”

 

Gerawan Files Motion for Reconsideration of the Board’s Order Denying Motion to Disqualify Member Hall

On May 23, 2017, Gerawan filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Board’s Order Denying Motion to Disqualify Member Hall, repeating its request for a stay of the proceedings pending resolution of the motion.

“Gerawan filed this motion for reconsideration both to correct serious legal errors in the Board’s initial decision,” Schwarz said, “and to bring to light new evidence regarding the identity of an individual who participated in a conversation with Mr. Hall in which Mr. Hall stated that he was going to ‘get’ Gerawan once he was a member of the Board. This individual, Mr. Shaun Ramirez, provided a declaration in support of Gerawan’s first motion to disqualify Member Hall. However, Mr. Ramirez and his employer, concerned that the Board (or Mr. Hall) might retaliate against them for speaking out, initially asked that Mr. Ramirez’s identity remain confidential.”

“The Board initially refused to consider Mr. Ramirez’s declaration – precisely because he asked that Gerawan not reveal his name for fear of retaliation. After the Board denied Gerawan’s motion to disqualify Mr. Hall, Mr. Ramirez allowed Gerawan to file an unredacted version of his declaration with this motion for reconsideration. This declaration set out in great detail Mr. Ramirez’s interactions with Mr. Hall and Mr. Hall’s statement, in reference to Gerawan, ‘I am going to get their ass.’”

 

ALRB Denies Gerawan’s Motion For Reconsideration to Disqualify Board Member Hall from Deliberations in this Case

On June 9, 2017, ALRB denied both Gerawan’s motion for reconsideration to disqualify Board Member Hall from deliberations in the case and Gerawan’s request for reconsideration of an immediate stay of the proceedings.

“As discussed,” Schwarz said, “Gerawan filed a motion for reconsideration with an unredacted version of Mr. Ramirez’s declaration. The Board again refused to consider Mr. Ramirez’s detailed account of his conversation with Member Hall. The Board took the position that it was under no requirement to consider such evidence in a motion for reconsideration, as the declaration was not ‘newly discovered’ or ‘previously unavailable.’ The Board discounted Mr. Ramirez’s reasons for desiring anonymity, and disregarded the merits of his sworn statement, without explaining why the revelation of his identity did not require it to reconsider the basis [the anonymity of the declarant] for disregarding it in the first place.”

“Of equal significance is that Mr. Hall participated in deciding his own disqualification motion,”  Schwarz added. “This violates a basic rule of due process and long-standing Board precedent that a member accused of bias cannot decide his own disqualification motion. Instead, Member Hall offered his own statement that he was not biased against Gerawan, albeit without denying or affirming the truth of Mr. Ramirez’s declaration.”

“Unlike Mr. Ramirez,” said Schwarz, “Member Hall’s ‘concurring’ opinion was not under oath.”

In the official ALRB Decision, Hall wrote, “I reject the claims of bias leveled against me by Gerawan and decline to recuse myself from participation in the deliberations in this case.”

Next Steps

In reaction to the Board’s refusal to disqualify Member Hall, Schwarz said, 
“Gerawan will appeal the Board’s decision. We are confident that this unprecedented and unconstitutional decision will not stand.”


Featured photo:  Isadore Hall III marching with UFW prior to ALRB appointment.

Who Safeguards CA Farm Workers’ Rights? Part 5


Resources

Farmers Deserve a Balanced Ag Labor Board,” by George Radanovich, Joel Nelsen, and Tom Nassif, Sacramento Bee, February 23, 2017.

Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation


 

2019-12-25T15:29:53-08:00July 21st, 2017|

Cherry Industry Hoping for Better Year

Cherry Growers Face Challenges in California

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

 

The cherry trees in California are sitting dormant now, but they will be waking up soon, for what the industry hopes to be a better season than the last few years.

“Cherry trees will soon push bud and leaf out and produce a crop by late April. We’ve had, I think, a decent amount of what we call chill portions,” said Nick Matteis, a spokesperson for the California Cherry Board.

With_Nick_Matteis,_Cherry_Board.jpg

California Ag Today’s Farm News Director Patrick Cavanaugh, left, speaks to Nick Matteis.

Enough minimum temperatures will help the trees become more vigorous in the spring. “It’s one of the things that makes growing cherries particularly challenging in this state,” Matteis said. “By January, folks will know, and hence, based on that information, that’s when the rest-breaking materials are sprayed if needed.”  Rest-breaking sprays are used to compact and advance bloom and harvest in cherries.

Many consumers in California really hope that this upcoming season will be a good season for cherries. “The only thing that makes it worthwhile is that people still just love to have those cherries at the earliest chance possible,” Matteis said.

“Last year, we got rain at the wrong time. Then we had a lot of split cherries that just didn’t make it to the market. The year before that, anybody’s guess is as good as anybody else’s,” Matteis said.

The cherry growers this year need a break. The state of California did not have a very good crop set two years ago, though last year, they had the opposite. “That’s the story with cherries, we’re always trying to squeeze into a really tight window, whether it comes to growing conditions or markets,” Matteis said.

There are always multiple factors that could lead to a decline in production. “There was some speculation amongst the growers that it maybe had something to do with bloom and pollination. Some thought maybe the chill was a factor, too. Of course, when you talk about any kind of factorial statistical analysis, I’m sure there are many combinations that’d be impossible to simplify,” Matteis explained.

2017-01-12T19:39:57-08:00January 12th, 2017|
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