California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) was created in 1975. It was created to ensure peace in the fields of California by guaranteeing justice for all agricultural workers and stability in agricultural labor relations. Among its duties, the ALRB provides orderly processes for protecting, implementing, and enforcing rights and responsibilities of employees, employers, and labor organizations.
Section 1140.2 actually sets forth some important legislative findings and declarations: “It’s hereby stated to be the policy of the State of California to encourage and protect the right of agricultural employees to full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment, and to be free from interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor or agents in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization, or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” For this purpose, this part is adopted to provide for collective bargaining rights for agricultural employees. The Act regulates:
-the organization of the board
-the Board’s investigatory powers
-the rights of agricultural employees
-unfair labor practices
-the regulation of secondary boycotts
-labor representatives and elections
-the prevention of unfair labor practices
The Board itself consists of five members that are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Board Members have five-year staggered terms and the Governor designates one of those five members to serve as the chair. A member may be removed by the Governor for only two reasons: neglect of duty or malfeasance in office. The Governor also appoints the Board’s general counsel and the Senate confirms their four-year term.
The Board’s principal office is in Sacramento, but the Board may meet and exercise any or all of its powers anywhere in California. It can also establish offices in other cities that it deems necessary. Section 1142.5 of the Labor Code requires the board to maintain at its principal office a telephone line staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This provides interested persons with information concerning their rights and responsibilities. It is also a way to refer individuals to the appropriate agency or entity for advice regarding any situation that may arise out of an agricultural labor dispute.
The Labor Code requires the ALRB, at the end of every fiscal year, to detail the cases that the Board heard, decisions that the Board rendered, and the name, salaries, and duties of all the employees and officers that the Board employs or supervises. This report is made in writing to the Legislature and Governor by June 30. Section 1144 provides authority to adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary by the Board itself. And the Section 1145 provides that the ALRB may appoint an executive secretary and attorneys, hearing officers, administrative law officers and other employees that it may need or find necessary for performing their duties.
You can find the full transcript of the audio in today’s podcast here.