For an update on the bill, which Gob. Brown vetoed late June 28, check The Packer's latest coverage.
It is the 11th hour for the California card check bill, which would strip farmworkers of the right to secret ballot elections.
As per state law, Gov. Jerry Brown must approve or veto the bill before midnight.
“At one point, I believe he had made the decision to veto it,” Tom Nassif, president and chief executive officer of Western Growers, Irvine, said today. “But he waited so long and allowed himself to come under so much additional pressure from other groups including (Congresswoman) Nancy Pelosi and (former Assembly Speaker and current Los Angeles mayor) Antonio Villaraigosa that it’s going to be much more difficult for him to do so.”
The delay was due to the ongoing battle in the Democrat dominated California Legislature over the fiscal year 2012 budget.
“I believe that if there had been a budget deal made with the Republicans, we would have probably seen a veto of card check,” Nassif said. “Without it, it’s difficult to be confident that he would do what he believes and we believe is the right thing and veto the bill.”
In 1975 during Brown’s first term as governor, he supported and signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which established the secret ballot as the exclusive means of determining whether workers sought union representation.
“The secret ballot election is the heart and soul of the Labor Relations Act," Nassif said. “It’s what Cesar Chavez insisted on; it’s what he (Brown) insisted on.”
Under the proposed card check law, however, elections would not be required. A labor union would be certified as the workers’ bargaining unit by submitting to the Labor Relations Board cards bearing the signatures of a majority of the employees. Grower-shippers would not have the right to challenge the validity of signatures.
Supporters of the bill maintain the card check system is akin to absentee ballots. The comparison is absurd, Nassif said.
“No Republicans or Democrats come to our home, fill out our absentee ballot and then say, ‘Okay, sign it,’” he said.
Western Growers has been given no indication in recent days where Brown currently stands on the bill.
“We’re always hopeful that he really is a new Jerry Brown and not just an excellent imitation of the old one, and that he will do what we all know is the right thing to do,” Nassif said.