Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jerry Brown Vetoes "Card Check" Bill

We give Jerry Brown a lot of flak for being too cozy with organized labor in the state (most recently by scuttling spending and pension reforms in the just-passed state budget), so we feel obligated to give him credit for taking an important stand against them. The LA Times reports that Brown has vetoed SB 104, a UFW effort that aimed to allow agricultural workers to unionize without a secret ballot.

As we discussed back in May when the Legislature approved the bill, the problem with "card check" is that allowing unions to form by circulating a petition makes it easier for pro-union workers to intimidate others. And of course, unionization would almost certainly raise the costs of doing business for the state's farms. In vetoing the bill, Brown said he wasn't "convinced that the far reaching proposals of this bill - which alter in a significant way the guiding assumptions of the ALRA - are justified. Before restructuring California's carefully crafted agricultural labor law, it is only right that the legislature consider legal provisions that more faithfully track its original framework."

Unsurprisingly, the UFW and other unions were livid with Brown when they heard the news. And of course, it's yet another slap in the face to Senate President Darrell Steinberg, the bill's author. But given the struggles in the state's farming regions, it's unquestionably the right thing to do.


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