October 3, 2013

UFW Trespassing in Monterey County 

Monterey County Farm Bureau TODAY has received information that United Farm Worker (UFW) personnel are taking access on local agricultural fields withoutfiling proper notice of access with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) in Sacramento. 

While a number of notices of access have been filed for agricultural fields all over the State this week, fields in northern Monterey County have thus far NOT been included in these notices, nor have growers and farm operations received official notice from ALRB of the intent to take access and converse with field laborers.

The laws are very specific on how access must be noticed to growers and farm operations.  It appears that UFW personnel are not following these procedural steps.  Access, when properly noticed, is only available at specific hours during the work day; UFW personnel appear to be ignoring these rules also. 

Growers and farm operations will comply with access for any labor union personnel when proper notice has been filed with ALRB and, in turn, that notice is certified and sent to the grower or farm operation.

These UFW personnel are currently trespassing on private agricultural fields and taking illegal access.

The reports that we have received here also indicate that reporters are following the UFW personnel as they travel from field to field.  These reporters are also trespassing on private lands if they do not have specific permission from the grower or farm operator.  MCFB sent a media advisory out notifying that these access activities are illegal under ALRB rules and any stories published should reflect that the UFW did not follow proper notification filing procedures.

In a press release, the UFW announced it will use the Access Regulation of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) so that UFW staff and volunteers can visit 100 of the largest farms in California. The stated purpose is to "energize and inspire farm workers and send a clear message to Congress: We want immigration reform today, not tomorrow," a campaign UFW characterizes as "the National Day of Dignity and Respect" launching the "Harvesting the American Dream" campaign. The announcement is posted online here.

According to the press release, on Oct. 3-5, UFW "will be marching to the fields of Monterey, Ventura, Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Madera and Merced counties" with the stated goal of having workers sign postcards urging Bakersfield CongressmanKevin McCarthy (who holds a leadership position in the House) to push for a vote on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

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