California produce industry applauds governor's veto of ag worker voting bill
Agricultural groups in California thanked Governor Newsom for his veto of a bill that would have eliminated the right to a secret ballot for agricultural workers when deciding union representation.
Newsom on Wednesday blocked AB 616, saying significant changes to the state's well-defined agricultural labor laws must be "carefully crafted".
The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) described the bill as the most recent version of card check legislation for employee unionization and said it would have stripped agricultural employees of the right to an impartial, secret ballot election.
CFFA President Ian LeMay said: “We appreciate his understanding of the impact this bill would have had on agricultural employees and their right to choose whether or not to have union representation.
"As stated in the Governor’s veto message, CFFA leadership is ready to work with the Administration, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) in protecting the rights and advancing the opportunities for all California farmworkers.”
He went on to say that the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) has long protected the right of agricultural employees to a secret ballot election supervised by the ALRB, free of intimidation and influence by any interested party.
"Today’s veto of AB 616 preserves the right to a free and fair election process for all California farmworkers from those who sought to take that right away from them," he said.
Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia said: “We commend Governor Newsom for rejecting the most recent UFW-backed attempt to dismantle the secret ballot election for farmworkers.
"In vetoing AB 616, Governor Newsom has preserved the integrity of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act and protected the rights of farmworkers in choosing whether to form or join a union. Governor Newson has sent to Sacramento lawmakers the clear message that card check has no place in California.
“We stand ready to engage with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and other stakeholders in the collaborative process outlined by the Governor in his veto message.”
Agricultural Council of California President Emily Rooney said: “With this veto, the governor is protecting agricultural workers' right to a secret ballot in union elections - plain and simple. The veto also maintains the supervisory role of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) in the process.”