July 7, 2007 is a day that Patrick Johnston, owner of Rocking S Dairy in Modesto, Calif., will not soon forget. That was the day a 37-to-1 vote was taken by his employees to join a union, in this case, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
It happened with head-spinning speed. One day Johnston was unaware of unionization efforts. The next, he learned he had just one week to campaign against the union before the vote was held.
You may think that the union is only a California problem. Unfortunately, dairies in every state are susceptible to a union, says Anthony Raimondo an agriculture labor law attorney with McCormick Barstow in Fresno, Calif. Dairies can’t hide from a union, they are fixed locations and have year-round employment, he adds.
And, right now with uncertain economic times, a union can be very enticing to employees who look at the union as job security, says Raimondo.
California is one of two states that have legal framework to vote-in a union. However, the biggest union organizing states are those with no agriculture labor laws. Raimondo says that in states with no legal frame work for a union, there is no way to come to a conclusion without caving to the pressure of a union.