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Ventura County | IN BRIEF / VENTURA

Judge Says Farm Illegally Fired Worker

January 17, 2002|From Times Staff Reports

A judge with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board has ruled that the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura illegally fired a mushroom picker engaged in organizing activities for the United Farm Workers union.

The 31-page ruling was delivered last week by Administrative Law Judge Douglas Gallop. Gallop said that during three days of testimony last fall state prosecutors proved the firing of Fidel Andrade violated provisions of a state law. That law prohibits agricultural employers from interfering with union organizing activities.

Andrade, 44, an ardent supporter of the United Farm Workers, was fired in May from his job of nine years. Pictsweet and the UFW have been locked in a protracted labor dispute over wages and benefits.

The judge said Pictsweet should offer Andrade his job back and reimburse him for lost wages. Company officials, who could not be reached Wednesday to comment, can appeal the decision to the state labor board.

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