Pixel Tracker

Monday, February 18 , 2019, 7:02 pm | Fair 51º


Williams’ Visit to Farm During Union Dispute Could Bring Ethics Complaint

Agricultural association leader accuses freshman assemblyman of misrepresenting himself as UFW organizer to gain access to private property

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, may be targeted in an ethics complaint after allegedly misrepresenting himself as a union representative to gain access to a Ventura County farm.

Rob Roy, president and general counsel for the Ventura County Agricultural Association, said Williams went to Montalvo Farms LLC with representatives from the United Farm Workers of America and AFL-CIO to talk to farm workers on March 23.

Williams, who represents Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in the 35th Assembly District, is running for the new 37th District seat.

“There is no place for an elected official to insert himself in the middle of this labor dispute,” Roy wrote in an email, adding that Williams should defer to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and “avoid participation in orchestrated events designed to demonize employers.”

Roy said he intends to file a complaint with the Assembly Special Committee on Legislative Ethics and wants a letter of apology for “unlawful trespass.”

While Roy alleges that Williams entered the property under the pretense of being a UFW organizer, the legislator’s office insists there was no misrepresentation.

Spokesman James Joyce said Williams was responding to constituent concerns related to working conditions on the farm and coordinated his visit with UFW organizers. Joyce said Williams clearly identified himself to get on to the property through a locked gate with security guards. Williams had a California Highway Patrol officer as a security escort.

“Claims that he was posing as a union official and tampering in a labor dispute are inflammatory, unproductive and unfounded,” said Joyce, adding that Williams handed out his own business cards to workers on the farm.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.