Attorney Joe Herman has been hip deep in California labor law for a half century.
He sees more than a few pitfalls in the compromise bill, officially S.B. 126, crafted by Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg.
Steinberg is no friend of agriculture or business, but long a political bedfellow of the United Farm Workers.
“Even before S.B. 126, the (Agriculture Relations Labor Act) was the most pro-union labor law in the U.S., either at the federal or state level,” Herman said.
“S.B. 126 will further tilt the table in favor of unions and against farming employers in several significant ways.”
Among the more egregious ways, he said, the law:
- increases the governor-appointed Labor Relations Board’s power to issue bargaining orders;
- permits the board to vacate election results if the union loses and to order the grower to recognize the union and negotiate a contract;
- permits the board to override the employees’ vote and force union representation on them; and,
- removes the right of a grower to appeal to the courts if the board vacates the results of an election.
“S.B. 126 is likely to result in a substantial increase in labor costs,” Herman said.
This in a state where growers are already paying the nation’s highest regulatory costs.
If in the future California grower-shippers, who produce a fair chunk of the fruits and vegetables consumed in and out of this country, ask for higher f.o.b.s, you’ll know why.
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