Governor vetoes card check legislation

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, July 1, 2011

At the 11th hour, in a surprise turn of events, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 104 (Darrell Steinberg, Speaker pro Tempore, D-Sacramento) that would have established a “card check” to unionize farm workers instead of a secret ballot.  The union (United Farm Workers) would have been able to bargain for employees without holding an election by collecting signatures from a majority of workers on cards saying they wanted representation.

For some weeks now people have speculated that the Governor had no appetite for anti-business legislation. SB 104 had strong opposition from farmers and others in their community along with CMTA. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar measures four times during his seven years in office. Supporters of the latest bill had been hopeful that Brown would approve it. It has been the top priority for years for the UFW, whose founder, Cesar Chavez, now deceased, had strong ties to Brown.

For the past two weeks lobbying efforts by the UFW included daily protests, evening vigils, marches, chanting outside of the capitol, and finally dozens of farm workers standing in the hall outside the Governor’s office awaiting a response.

The Governor’s veto message makes reference to his historical involvement with the passage of the nation’s first Agricultural Labor Relations Act:

    “Thirty-six later, the ALRA is still recognized as the best labor relations act in the country. Under its protections, tens of thousands of agriculture workers have voted for unionization or otherwise express their choice as to how their interest should be advanced.

    Yet, the disputes never quite stopped and today there are serious complaints that workers are deprived of their rights through a variety of unfair, improper and illegal acts.  The proponents of SB 104 argue that the ALRA no longer works and must be drastically changed. SB 104 indeed is a drastic change and I appreciate the frustrations that have given rise to it. But, I am not convinced that the far reaching proposals of this bill…are justified”


The UFW will continue to fight for "card check" and have already found a new author to introduce a similar bill.

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