Executive Summary of the Annual Report of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board for Fiscal Year 1999-2000

Members of the Board

Genevieve A. Shiroma, Chairwoman
Ivonne Ramos Richardson
Michael B. Stoker
Gloria A. Barrios
Herbert O. Mason 1

J. Antonio Barbosa, Executive Secretary

Paul Richardson, General Counsel

Labor Code section 1143 requires the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB or Board) to report in writing to the Legislature and to the Governor stating in detail the cases it has heard, the decisions it has rendered, the names, salaries, and duties of all employees and officers in the employ or under the supervision of the Board, and an account of all moneys (backpay) it has disbursed. A complete report has been provided to the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the President pro Tempore of the Senate. In addition, copies may be obtained from the Board’s Executive Secretary.

The mission of the ALRB, as set forth in the preamble to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA or Act), is “to ensure peace in the fields by guaranteeing justice for all agricultural employees and stability in agricultural labor relations.” This mission is carried out through vigorous, but fair, enforcement of the ALRA, so as to protect the right of agricultural workers to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and to refrain from such activities. Moreover, it is the mission of the Board to resolve disputes arising under the Act by issuing timely, consistent, and impartial decisions, thus increasing the accountability and credibility so essential to engendering respect for the Act and its prescriptions. Through these efforts, together with public outreach designed to educate both farmworkers and employers of their rights and obligations under the Act, the Board strives to fully effectuate the purposes of the Act as intended by the Legislature at the time of its passage in 1975.

For fiscal year 1999-2000, the ALRB budget was approximately $4.5 million, which supported four offices statewide and fewer than 50 staff members. The headquarters office is in Sacramento, with three regional offices located in Visalia, Salinas, and El Centro.  The Board’s request for a budget change proposal to develop a small satellite office in the Oxnard or Santa Maria area, which areas have been served by the geographically remote regional offices in El Centro and Visalia, was approved by Governor Gray Davis and the Legislature for the fiscal year 2000-2001 budget.

In 1999-2000, five Petitions for Certification were filed. Two Petitions for Decertification were filed. After investigation, one of the petitions was dismissed, resulting in six elections being held during the fiscal year. In four cases, objections were filed and the Board issued six certifications. Investigative Hearing Examiners (IHE’s) commenced three hearings involving election-related matters, regarding Coastal Berry Company, and issued four decisions.

During the 1999-2000 fiscal year, 376 unfair labor practice (ULP) charges were filed with the ALRB. Of the 376 charges, 322 were filed against employers and 54 were filed against labor organizations. The General Counsel closed 232 charges, sent 42 charges to complaint, and issued 10 complaints. Of the remainder, 190 charges were closed due to dismissal, withdrawal or settlement. Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) commenced three ULP hearings in 1999-2000 and issued three decisions.

The Board issued a total of nine decisions involving allegations of ULPs and matters relating to employee representation during fiscal year 1999-2000. Of the nine decisions, two involved ULPs, and seven were related to elections. The Board issued 22 numbered administrative orders during the fiscal year.

Parties to decisions of the Board may file petitions for review in the courts of appeal pursuant to Labor Code section 1160.8. Thus, a significant portion of the Board’s workload is comprised of writing and filing appellate briefs and appearing for oral argument in those cases. The Board must also be prepared to be involved in superior court proceedings to enforce its previously issued orders against parties and to defend against occasional challenges to its jurisdiction and to its election decisions in both state and federal courts. In fiscal year 1999-2000, five cases were pending decision in the courts of appeal. Of those, two were resolved without further appeal and the others remained under submission.

At the beginning of 1999-2000, 38 cases were ready for compliance action. Nine cases were closed by the end of the fiscal year. During the 1998-99 fiscal year, a total of $368,399.86 was distributed to 202 agricultural employees.

In fiscal year 1999-2000, the board completed the regulatory process that had been initiated the prior fiscal year.

1 Term expired December 31, 1999. Holdover period expired February 29, 2000