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July 2002, Volume 8, Number 3

ALRB: Decisions, Unions

The ALRB issued five decisions in the first half of 2002. In Pete Vanderham Dairy, Inc, 28 ALRB 1, the Board certified Dairy Employees Local 17 as bargaining representative for three workers; the union won the election on a 2-0 vote.

In Albert Goyenetche Dairy, 28 ALRB 2 and 28 ALRB 5, the vote in the February 22, 2002 election was 15-14 for the UFCW Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Workers Union, Local 1096, with one challenged ballot, which was cast by a supervisor. The ALRB certified Local 1096 as bargaining representative.

In The Elmore Company, 28 ALRB 3, Elmore fired employee Lopez, and Lopez charged that the discharge in August 2000, after 19 years of employment as an irrigator with no disciplinary notices, was in retaliation for his protected concerted activities. In August 2000, Lopez protested on behalf of the crew a supervisor's change of the work day from 10 to nine hours, and the next day was fired by the supervisor for insubordination when he swore at the supervisor who gave him an English-language copy of the law, as he only understood Spanish.

The ALRB agreed that the second day's conversation was a continuation of the protected concerted activities the day before, and thus that Lopez's speech was protected because it occurred before work began, dealt with the reduction in hours, was not a threat, and that Lopez's outburst was arguably a response to an employer ULP. The ALRB ordered Lopez reinstated with back pay. Two board members analyzed Lopez's behavior on the basis of Atlantic Steel (1979) 245 NLRB 814; one on the basis of Wright Line (1980) 251 NLRB 1083.

In Pictsweet Mushroom Farms, 28 ALRB No. 4, the Board upheld an ALJ ruling that mushroom picker Andrade was unlawfully fired by Pictsweet for engaging in protected concerted activities on behalf of a fellow worker, not for fighting with his supervisor. Andrade, a mushroom picker, was fired after a May 27, 2001 in which he grabbed his supervisor.

The ALJ found that Andrade was provoked into grabbing his supervisor's hand, and thus could not be fired for fighting with his supervisor. The ALRB agreed, and added that Pictsweet could not show that it would have fired him for grabbing the supervisor if he were not engaged in union activities.

UPS-Teamsters. United Parcel Service and the Teamsters union agreed on a six-year contract in July 2002 that raises employee pay and benefits by about four percent a year; the Teamsters represent 230,000 UPS workers. Under the new contract, pay for full-time drivers would increase from $23.11 an hour to $28.11 over the six years, and their benefits package would grow by $3.75 an hour. Part-time employees, who make up more than half of the company's work force, now earn an average of $11 an hour, and they would see their pay rise by $1 an hour each year of the contract. The Teamsters have 1.4 million members.

Lesli A. Maxwell, "UFW aims to harvest key shift in farm labor law," Fresno Bee, July 21, 2002. Fred Alvarez, " Bill Could End Impasse at Pictsweet," Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2002. Fred Alvarez, "After a Life in the Fields, Farm Workers Looking for a Place to Call Their Own," Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2002. Fred Alvarez, "Dispute over size of UFW is reopened," Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2002. Fred Alvarez, "Pictsweet told to rehire UFW supporter," Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2002. Mark Martin, "UFW could force Davis' hand," San Francisco Chronicle, May 5, 2002. Lesli A. Maxwell, "UFW clash with growers looming. A new bill would mandate arbitration when contract talks hit an impasse," Sacramento Bee, April 24, 2002.

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