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Bias Exists at ALRB Says Insider

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Leslie Soule took a gamble that she says eventually forced her from her job as a legal typist with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.  In part one of GV Wire’s report, Soule says after speaking out against the confirmation of board member Genevieve Shiroma, she was suspended. She eventually quit rather than fight the bureaucracy.

In her three years working at the ALRB, Soule feels the agency has a bias towards farm workers.  “There is an obvious bias going on here. Why are they treating people like this?” Soule told GV Wire in an exclusive interview.

The ALRB is supposed to help settle disputes between farmers and labor. One of the biggest cases involves Gerawan Farming.

It is has been nearly a 30 year battle between Gerawan, its employees and the UFW.

Summarizing a complex case:

-The UFW organized workers in 1990

-Employees claim the UFW abandoned them for more than 20 years

– In 2012, the UFW returned requesting labor negotiations with Gerawan.

– A year later, the employees voted on whether to decertify the UFW.

Gerawan was accused of manipulating the vote, leaving those ballots uncounted and in limbo. They have been locked up by the ALRB yet to be counted.

“I don’t know if there is any precedent in the ALRB history of doing things. It is certainly not in their rules of conduct that they can just take ballots and lock them away indefinitely and not count them,” Soule says.

Despite the fact they are supposed to be unbiased, Soule says that was not the case with ALRB board member Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez

“I personally heard Cathryn. When there was a decision in favor of Gerawan that came down from one of the appellate courts. I was sitting right outside Cathryn’s office. I heard her shriek like a banshee when she saw the decision, ‘ah, Gerawan.’ There was no denying of that what she was shrieking about. She’s obviously got this bias because of what I’ve heard,” Soulde said.

GV Wire asked Rivera-Hernandez for a response. An ALRB spokesman declined on her behalf.

 

Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

 

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email