Monday, May 29, 2023

Newsom signs landmark agreement allowing farmworkers to unionize

California farmworkers will be able to unionize more easily after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law Monday, the latest step in an unusual agreement between the Democratic leader and union workers last year.

Under intense political pressure, Newsom agreed last year to sign a high-profile bill that expanded farmworkers’ rights to unionize, but only on the condition that the United Farm Workers and the California Labor Federation follow-up in 2023. Will support legislation that would outlaw some. the provisions of.

“We’ve removed barriers to farm workers in union elections, so they can advocate for themselves and fight for a better workplace.”


The rare agreement allows farmworkers to form unions by signing cards through a process known as card-check (also known as majority signature), which authorizes unions to hire employees to represent them. Allows signing of cards. Vote in person at a vote center, but remove their ability to unionize via mail-in ballots, as the original bill would have allowed.

“The control card essentially provides workers with an opportunity to organize without the employer knowing.

“It has been our dream for decades in California to allow farmworkers to organize without fear of intimidation and deportation,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “Nothing good comes easy, but we are happy to finally have this device.”

The signing of Newsom’s follow-up bill, AB 113, ends a politically difficult episode for the Democratic governor, who came to power and remains in power with the support of the state’s most influential unions.

After vetoing similar legislation in 2021, Newsom indicated he was prepared to again reject last year’s proposal that would have allowed card-check elections and voting by mail. A month prior to Bill AB 2183’s introduction, a spokesperson for Newsom said that governors “could not support an untested mail-in election process that lacks key provisions to protect election integrity.” ,

Regardless, the unions pushed for the bill to reach the state legislature, leading to a political showdown with Newsom that made national headlines.

Last year, farmers rallied across the state and camped in Sacramento in support of the legislation. President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) publicly urged their Democratic counterpart to sign it into law.

Instead of vetoing the legislation a month before his re-election and facing criticism from California and national Democrats, Newsom struck a deal with the unions. The governor agreed to sign the bill only after the California Farm Workers Union and the California Federation of Labor supported and pushed follow-up legislation this year that would eliminate the option to vote by mail, vote card-check certification 75% centers, allowed work and the “check card” option to expire in 2028.

AB 113, which Newsom signed on Monday, would introduce those changes into the 2022 law. The governor also signed a bill to create a new $150 million program to provide interest-free loans to struggling medical centers, hoping to avoid closures that often occur in rural areas. communities.

Newsom referred to farmworkers as “the backbone of our state” in a statement. “We’ve removed barriers for farm workers in union elections, so they can advocate for themselves and fight for a better workplace,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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