California’s governor signs bill to make farm union voting easier
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In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill aimed at making it easier for farmworkers there to participate in votes to unionize, allowing them to cast ballots by mail.
Currently, votes are usually held on the private property of growers, where proponents of the measure say workers – some of whom are undocumented – can feel discouraged from voting for fear of retaliation.
The measure, known as Assembly Bill 2183, faced fierce opposition from the agricultural industry, according to Thad Kousser of UC San Diego.
“Their concern is that unionization will drive up their labor costs and make it harder for them to deliver food cheaply, and that could contribute to inflation,” he said.
Governor Newsom’s support comes after months of advocacy from United Farmworkers.
Membership in the historic union among California’s 400,000 farmworkers has dwindled, enough to be statistically insignificant. There’s a number of reasons for that, said Democratic political consultant Andrew Acosta.
“It’s a workforce that’s not in one place for very long and we have national immigration issues that are problematic,” he said.
Support from key Democrats, including President Joe Biden, played a role in the decision by Newsom, who’s building his national profile, Acosta said. He vetoed a similar bill last year.
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