WATSONVILLE -- The United Farm Workers is challenging the results of an election for union representation at Corralitos Farms LLC.

The UFW, on the losing side when more than 350 farmworkers cast ballots Sept. 19 in Watsonville and Salinas, alleges the berry grower engaged in illegal activity in the days leading up to the vote.

A call to Corralitos Farms was not immediately returned Thursday.

According to a statement released by the UFW, a majority of workers signed cards calling for the vote on Sept. 14, triggering the election. But management subsequently threatened to fire workers, offered benefits in exchange for no votes, interrogated workers and otherwise intervened in violation of state labor law.

In its filing with the Agricultural Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, the UFW backed up its allegations with sworn statements by 33 workers. The union argues the votes of at least 27 workers were affected by the violations.

On Sept. 19, the vote was 187-154 against the union, with 19 ballots challenged and three voided, according to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

The case will be the first test of a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year that calls for the board to certify a union as the bargaining agent if it finds an employer used illegal tactics in an election.

Follow Sentinel reporter Donna Jones on Twitter at Twitter.com/DonnaJonesSCS



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