The California Fresh Fruit Association Urges Governor Newsom to Veto AB 616; Ian LeMay Discusses
FRESNO, CA - This past Thursday, the California State Senate voted 24-11 to pass AB 616 (Stone), commonly known as “card check.” In response, the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) joined a coalition of agricultural organizations to oppose the bill and rally support from California Governor Gavin Newsom, stating that AB 616 would limit the ability of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) to provide impartial supervision of an election.
“The California State Senate’s vote to pass AB 616 and undermine the integrity of the secret ballot in union elections is beyond disappointing,” CFFA President Ian LeMay stated. “The right to an impartial, secret ballot election, free from undue pressure, is foundational to the democratic process that all of us cherish as Americans. AB 616 would allow for interested parties (union) to deliver a representation card to a select group of employees to sign in their presence smacks of voter coercion and intimidation—an anathema to the democratic voting process. The bill fails to even require that every employee of a company have the opportunity to vote on who or if they want to be represented.”
The passing of AB 616 would alter the traditional petition and secret election process overseen by the ALRB in which farmworkers can vote for a union. A press release noted that while the proponents of the bill have been characterized as “vote by mail” legislation, unlike mail-in voting, the process outlined in AB 616 would allow for interested parties to select the timing and manner of a union election as well as who receives a card check form.
“At the same time that our state legislators are smacking the pulpit regarding protections needed for our state and national voting processes, it is unfathomable that they would strip our farmworker community of that same basic right,” LeMay continued. “We now call on Governor Newsom to have the same foresight as his predecessor Governor Brown did when he vetoed the previous card check attempt. Veto AB 616 and protect California farmworker’s right to a free and fair election process.”
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