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April 17, 2003

US: Gallo faces labour charges

E&J Gallo's Sonoma winery has been accused of forcing its workers to quit the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) in a complaint filed this week by California's Agricultural Labor Relations Board. The complaint will at least delay the elimination of union labour at the wine producer, whose workers recently voted on a proposal to decertify the UFW. The ballots from the vote will remain locked in a vault and will not be counted until the charges against Gallo can be resolved.

E&J Gallo’s Sonoma winery has been accused of forcing its workers to quit the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) in a complaint filed this week by California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board.


The complaint will at least delay the elimination of union labour at the wine producer, whose workers recently voted on a proposal to decertify the UFW. The ballots from the vote will remain locked in a vault and will not be counted until the charges against Gallo can be resolved.


The complaint argues that Gallo employees, many of whom are migrant workers who speak only limited English, were tricked into signing the petition to decertify the Union.


“The effort was totally orchestrated by Gallo management,” said Marc Grossman, a spokesman for the United Farm Workers Union. “It was patently illegal.”


However, in a statement Gallo said the charge was unfounded. “It is unfortunate that this charge will further delay the counting of votes,” the company said. It also noted that two other charges related to the case had been dropped by the Labor Relations Board.


 

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