Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court, No. F025641

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtTHAXTER
Citation56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409,48 Cal.App.4th 1489
Parties, 96 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6422, 96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 10,512 AGRICULTURAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. The SUPERIOR COURT of Stanislaus County, Respondent. GALLO VINEYARDS, INC., et al., Real Parties in Interest.
Decision Date26 August 1996
Docket NumberNo. F025641

Page 409

56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409
48 Cal.App.4th 1489, 96 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6422,
96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 10,512
AGRICULTURAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT of Stanislaus County, Respondent.
GALLO VINEYARDS, INC., et al., Real Parties in Interest.
No. F025641.
Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.
Aug. 26, 1996.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing Sept. 20, 1996.
Review Denied Nov. 20, 1996.

Page 411

[48 Cal.App.4th 1492] J. Antonio Barbosa, Joseph P. Wender, Jr. and Julie Demaris, Sacramento, for Petitioner.

No appearance for Respondent.

Marcos Camacho, Keene, and Thomas Patrick Lynch, Los Angeles, for Real Party in Interest United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Joseph E. Herman, Michael C. Lieb, Keith D. Grossman, Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios & Ladine, Los Angeles, and Roger M. Schrimp, Modesto, for Real Party in Interest Gallo Vineyards, Inc.

OPINION

THAXTER, Associate Justice.

Petitioner Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB or Board) seeks a writ of mandate directing respondent superior court to vacate an order which, in effect, voids the certification of real party in interest United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW) as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of all agricultural employees of real party in interest Gallo Vineyards, Inc. (Gallo) in Sonoma County and the election upon which the certification was based.

The narrow issue presented is whether respondent court's order was within its jurisdiction. We will conclude it was not and will grant the requested relief.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

THE CERTIFICATION PETITION AND ELECTION

Gallo raises varietal wine grapes on five ranches in Sonoma County. On July 18, 1994, UFW filed a petition with ALRB pursuant to Labor Code section 1156.3 1 for certification of UFW as exclusive bargaining representative of Gallo's Sonoma County agricultural employees. Two days later, Gallo requested ALRB to dismiss the petition because its then current work force was less than 50 percent of the anticipated peak employment

Page 412

for the calendar year 1994, which Gallo predicted would occur during the first or second week of September. Gallo also filed an "Employer's Response" form estimating a need for 250 or more employees during the 1994 peak [48 Cal.App.4th 1493] season grape harvest. Gallo asserted the 1994 harvest would require more workers than those employed in 1993 because additional acreage was to be harvested and a higher yield was expected. One item on the form stated, "If the employer contends that the payroll period of peak employment in the calendar year will occur later in the calendar year, ATTACH payroll records from prior years, crop and acreage information, and any other information which supports that contention." Gallo replied, "Same crop and probably more acreage bearing fruit in 1994."

Gallo wrote another letter to ALRB on July 21, 1994, again contending the current employment complement was less than the 50 percent of anticipated peak employment required under section 1156.3, subdivision (a)(1). The following day Gallo sent ALRB yet a third letter stating 174 acres would be harvested for the first time in 1994 and an additional 205 acres would be reaching second harvest, increasing total yield. This, Gallo claimed, would require additional employees.

Following investigation, ALRB determined that UFW's petition presented "reasonable cause to believe that a bona fide question of representation exists," and, pursuant to section 1156.3, subdivision (a), conducted an election on July 26, 1994. There were 114 eligible employees, of whom 107 voted; of those, 81 voted for UFW, 21 voted "No union," and there were 5 unresolved challenged ballots. Based on the election results, UFW was tentatively certified as the official bargaining representative of the Gallo employees.

ALRB REVIEW

Pursuant to section 1156.3, subdivision (c), Gallo objected to the election on August 2, 1994. The sole ground of objection was that ALRB "failed to investigate, completely ignored evidence to the contrary, and otherwise improperly directed an election at a time when [Gallo] was employing less than 50% of its peak agricultural employment compliment [sic ] for the 1994 calendar year." ALRB ordered its regional director to provide, by declaration of appropriate personnel, an explanation of the manner in which the determination was made that Gallo was at 50 percent or more of peak employment.

Octavio Galarza, the field examiner of ALRB's Salinas Regional Office, responded with a declaration that he reviewed Gallo's payroll records for the prepetition payroll period ending July 17, 1994, and, using the "body [48 Cal.App.4th 1494] count" method under Triple E Produce Corp. (Oct. 10, 1990) 16 ALRB No. 14, found a total of 110 employees. He then reviewed the payroll register for the previous peak employment period ending September 12, 1993, and found a total of 257 employees. Because the current body count was less than 50 percent of the prior peak body count, he then estimated the average employee days for the prior peak period. The daily employee count for the week ending September 12, 1993, was 283, 185, 189, 168, 151 and 74 for a six-day work week, yielding an average number of 175 employees per day. The current employment force of 110 exceeded 50 percent of the average force in the preceding peak employment period.

Galarza's declaration continued:

"Next, I took under consideration of prospective peak based upon the employer's expected increase in harvest yield and additional acreage, and therefore a projected future increase in production for 1994. I interviewed an employee of the company who has worked for Gallo year-round since 1989, including the 1993 harvest. He worked in all of the company's current acreage and is familiar with the new additional acreage that the employer contends will require additional employees in the harvest. This employee stated that the same number of crews hired for the harvest in September 1993 will be sufficient to harvest the prospective harvest in 1994....

"On July 22, 1994, [Gallo], through its counsel Jordan Bloom, transmitted to me by facsimile a letter stating that additional employees would be needed to perform harvest work although it was not possible

Page 413

for the company to estimate how many such workers would be needed....

"Based upon the available information furnished by [Gallo] and my interview with the above-mentioned employee, I made a determination that [Gallo] was at more than fifty percent of peak at the time of the pre-petition payroll period."

On August 30, 1994, ALRB's executive secretary dismissed Gallo's objection to the election because the objection and its supporting documents failed to make a prima facie showing that the regional director's finding of peak employment was unreasonable. As a further ground for dismissal, the executive secretary stated Gallo's contention that ALRB should have averaged the eligibility period figures as well as those of the prior peak employment period is contrary to applicable law, citing Adamek & Dessert, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. (1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 970, 224 Cal.Rptr. 366. Finally, the objection was dismissed because Gallo's contention that prospective peak figures should not be averaged unless there is a [48 Cal.App.4th 1495] high turnover is contrary to ALRB law, citing Triple E Produce Corp., supra, 16 ALRB No. 14.

Pursuant to title 8, California Code of Regulations, section 20393, subdivision (a), Gallo requested ALRB review of the executive secretary's dismissal of its election objection. The Board granted the request and set a hearing before an investigative hearing examiner (IHE). The hearing was held on November 9, 1994. Gallo submitted additional evidence showing the actual peak employment numbers during harvest in September 1994. Based on those figures, the eligible employees at the time of the certification petition were not 50 percent of peak employment.

The IHE issued a decision on January 12, 1995. He concluded that the regional director's office acted reasonably in determining that the 50 percent of peak employment requirement was met, and he recommended that the Board dismiss Gallo's objection and certify the election results.

In February 1995, Gallo filed exceptions to the decision of the IHE, arguing, inter alia, that ALRB violated section 1156.4 by not applying a uniform statewide standard to the crop and acreage information supplied by Gallo.

On July 26, 1995, the Board issued a decision affirming the dismissal of the election objection and certifying UFW as representing Gallo's employees. (Gallo Vineyards, Inc. (July 26, 1995) 21 ALRB No. 3.) The ALRB affirmed the IHE's decision. It also rejected Gallo's new argument based on the provisions of section 1156.4.

In July 1995 following certification, UFW requested negotiations with Gallo. Gallo acknowledged the request in August 1995 but stated it was unable to comply because of its intention "to obtain resolution of this matter in the courts." On August 31, 1995, UFW filed a charge against Gallo for engaging in unfair labor practices.

JUDICIAL REVIEW

On September 11, 1995, before resolution of the unfair labor practices charge, Gallo filed a petition for writ of mandate with respondent court seeking a stay and relief directed at overturning the ALRB decision. Gallo claimed ALRB exceeded its jurisdiction in not dismissing the UFW certification petition, violated express provisions of the Agricultural Labor [48 Cal.App.4th 1496] Relations Act (Act) 2 and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 3 and denied Gallo due process of law. Noting the Act does not allow for direct judicial review of routine election certification decisions, Gallo urged that its petition came within judicially recognized exceptions to the routine procedure.

Respondent court issued an alternative writ of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 practice notes
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F073720
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 30 mai 2018
    ...into question in conjunction with an unfair labor practice proceeding"]; Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1489, 1497-1498, 56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409 [orders in certification proceedings not directly reviewable, but may be judicially reviewed following a fina......
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F069896
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 9 mai 2016
    ...ruling based on lack of jurisdiction per § 1160.8 reversed]; see also Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1489, 1498–1510, 56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409 [noting exceptions exist permitting superior court jurisdiction, but concluding that such exceptions did not app......
  • Lopez v. Shiroma, 1:14-CV-00236-LJO-GSA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 24 juillet 2014
    ...into one of a few narrow exceptions, none of which parties claim apply here.6 Agric. LaborPage 20Relations Bd. v. Superior Court, 48 Cal. App. 4th 1489, 1499 (1996). Subdivision (a) of Section 1144.5 makes the administrative adjudication provisions of the California Administrative Procedure......
3 cases
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F073720
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 30 mai 2018
    ...into question in conjunction with an unfair labor practice proceeding"]; Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1489, 1497-1498, 56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409 [orders in certification proceedings not directly reviewable, but may be judicially reviewed following a fina......
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F069896
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 9 mai 2016
    ...ruling based on lack of jurisdiction per § 1160.8 reversed]; see also Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1489, 1498–1510, 56 Cal.Rptr.2d 409 [noting exceptions exist permitting superior court jurisdiction, but concluding that such exceptions did not app......
  • Lopez v. Shiroma, 1:14-CV-00236-LJO-GSA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 24 juillet 2014
    ...into one of a few narrow exceptions, none of which parties claim apply here.6 Agric. LaborPage 20Relations Bd. v. Superior Court, 48 Cal. App. 4th 1489, 1499 (1996). Subdivision (a) of Section 1144.5 makes the administrative adjudication provisions of the California Administrative Procedure......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT