Thursday, September 03, 2009

Again, Arnold rejects card-check unionizing

For the third time, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a farmworker-unionizing bill. On Wednesday, the governor rejected SB 789 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

The bill would have allowed "card-check" balloting for union representation as an alternative to the secret-ballot process. It was opposed by farm interests.

From the governor's veto message:

This process fundamentally alters an employee's right to a secret ballot election that allows the employee to choose, in the privacy of the voting booth without coercion or manipulation, whether or not to be represented. While I support the right of agricultural employees to voluntarily seek and choose representation if they wish, and ensuring that existing labor laws are enforced is a top priority for my administration, I cannot support this alteration of the secret ballot process.

Employers argue that card-check voting exposes workers to coercion by the union; United Farm Workers says the secret-ballot process exposes them to coercion by employers. 

From UFW:

Farm workers are subjected to sexual harassment, heat illness, abuses and intimidation at the work place. Yet, the governor, again and again, has failed to protect farm workers and continues to support employers who are responsible for at least 95 percent of the reported violations during union election campaigns.

Capitol Weekly links the veto to a $1 million donation to a UFW political action committee focused on opposing new water bonds. A water bond to accompany developing water legislation is among Schwarzenegger's top priorities.

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