Yesterday, Governor Newsom vetoed AB 616, legislation that would have eliminated the secret ballot process by which agricultural employees may elect union representation, and replace it with a ballot card election.
In a veto message to the State Assembly, Newsom stated, “This bill contains various inconsistencies and procedural issues related to the collection and review of ballot card.”
He continued, “Significant changes to California’s well-defined agriculture labor laws must be carefully crafted to ensure that both agricultural workers’ intent to be represented and the right to collectively bargain is protected, and the state can faithfully enforce those fundamental rights.”
Newsom further directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Agriculture Labor Relations Board, in collaboration with stakeholders, to develop new policies for legislative consideration to address mail-in ballots.
California Citrus Mutual extends our gratitude to our members and packing houses for calling on the Governor to veto this legislation. When we ask our members to engage it is because your voice is valuable and, when amplified by your organization, can be a powerful influence on important policy decisions. So, again, we thank you for engaging!
We applaud the Governor for vetoing AB 616 for pursuing an alternative mail-in ballot system that protects the secret ballot and prevents unfair or dangerous intimidation tactics that may occur under the card check system proposed in AB 616.
Further, we want to acknowledge the collaboration among the agricultural associations on this issue. CCM worked closely with other organizations including the CA Fresh Fruit Association, Western Growers Association, Ag Council of California, the CA Farm Bureau and many others to communicate to Governor and his staff the dangerous consequences of AB 616. The outcome of AB 616 is a testament to the power and importance of working together within agriculture to advocate for reasonable policy solutions.
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