Western Growers and California Fresh Fruit Association Commend Governor Newsom for AB 616 Veto; Dave Puglia and Ian LeMay Discuss
IRVINE & FRESNO, CA - On Wednesday, September 22, California Governor Gavin Newsom revealed his veto of AB 616, the most recent version of card check legislation for agriculture employee unionization which was passed by the California State Senate in August. The bill would have allowed farm workers to select their collective bargaining representative through a ballot card election by either voting at a physical location, by mail, or by dropping off a ballot to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board office. Upon vetoing the legislation, several industry associations voiced their approval of the decision.
“On behalf of the Association, we would like to thank Governor Newsom for his veto of AB 616 today. We appreciate his understanding of the impact this bill would have had on agricultural employees and their right to choose whether or not to have union representation,” said Ian LeMay, President of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA). "As stated in the Governor’s veto message, CFFA leadership is ready to work with the Administration, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) in protecting the rights and advancing the opportunities for all California farmworkers.”
LeMay continued, “The Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) has long protected the right of agricultural employees to a secret ballot election supervised by the ALRB, free of intimidation and influence by any interested party. Today’s veto of AB 616 preserves the right to a free and fair election process for all California farmworkers from those who sought to take that right away from them.”
Dave Puglia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Growers, also commented on Governor Newsom’s decision.
“We commend Governor Newsom for rejecting the most recent UFW-backed attempt to dismantle the secret ballot election for farmworkers. In vetoing AB 616, Governor Newsom has preserved the integrity of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act and protected the rights of farmworkers in choosing whether to form or join a union. Governor Newson has sent to Sacramento lawmakers the clear message that card check has no place in California,” he stated. “We stand ready to engage with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and other stakeholders in the collaborative process outlined by the Governor in his veto message.”
As more information and updates become available about AB 616 and other agricultural legislation, AndNowUKnow will continue to report.