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Agricultural Labor Relations Board

The ALRB may establish offices in such other cities as it deems necessary

By Chris Micheli, August 21, 2020 6:22 am

California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) was created in 1975. According to ALRB, they were 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 the respective rights and responsibilities of employees, employers, and labor organizations in their relations with each other.

Labor Code Division 2 (covering employment regulation and supervision), Part 3.5 (covering agricultural labor relations), Chapter 1 (covering general provisions and definitions). Section 1140 provides that this part is known and may be referred to as the Alatorre-Zenovich-Dunlap-Berman Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975.

Section 1140.2 sets forth legislative findings as follows: “It is 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 the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their 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.”

Part 3.5 covers agricultural labor relations, including Chapter 2 on the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which is contained in Sections 1141 to 1151.6. There are also articles on the organization of the Board, investigatory powers, rights of agricultural employees, unfair labor practices and regulation of secondary boycotts, labor representatives and elections, prevention of unfair labor practices and judicial review and enforcement, contract dispute resolution, and lawsuits involving employers and labor organizations.

Section 1141 creates in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which consists of five members. The members of the ALRB are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The term of office of the members is five years. And, the Governor designates one member to serve as chairperson of the board. Any member of the board may be removed by the Governor, upon notice and hearing, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, but for no other cause.

Pursuant to Section 1142, the principal office of the board is in Sacramento, but it may meet and exercise any or all of its power at any other place in California. In addition, the ALRB may establish offices in such other cities as it deems necessary. Section 1142.5 requires the board to maintain, at its principal office, a telephone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of providing interested persons with information concerning their rights and responsibilities under this part, or for referring such persons to the appropriate agency or entity with the capacity to render advice or help in dealing with any situation arising out of agricultural labor disputes.

The ALRB must, at the close of each fiscal year, make a 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 it has disbursed.

Section 1144 provides the board with authority to adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary. Under Section 1145, the ALRB may appoint an executive secretary and attorneys, hearing officers, administrative law officers, and other employees as it may from time to time find necessary for the proper performance of its duties. Section 1148 requires the board to follow applicable precedents of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended.

Section 1149 specifies that there is a general counsel of the board who is appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the Senate, for a term of four years. The general counsel has the power to appoint such attorneys, administrative assistants, and other employees as necessary for the proper exercise of his or her duties.

The Act provides that the agency’s authority is divided between a Board composed of five members and a General Counsel, all of whom are appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate. Together, they are responsible for the prevention of those practices which the Act declares to be impediments to the free exercise of employee rights.

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