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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.

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