Western Dairy Group Praises California Governor’s Veto of Card-Check Bill

July 3, 2011 11:00 PM

Bill would have enabled unions to bypass elections by urging the majority of a grower’s workers to sign cards.

Source: Western United Dairymen

Western United Dairymen (WUD) last week praised Governor Jerry Brown for his veto of SB104, known as the card-check bill.

“We thank the Governor for his veto of SB102,” said WUD President Jamie Bledsoe. “Every member of Western United Dairymen recognizes the critical role that our talented workers play in producing the safest, most nutritious and highest quality milk in the world. The teams we work with on our family dairy farms are essential to the success of our dairies and critical to a bright future for locally grown California food within our great state. We thank the Governor for his vision in assuring that agricultural workers should be granted the promise of a labor process unfettered from bullying threats and intimidation.”

The bill would have enabled unions to bypass elections by urging the majority of a grower’s workers to sign cards, and would have essentially gutted portions of the state’s 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which Brown championed during his first term in the governor’s office.

Bledsoe also praised the grassroots efforts of WUD members who sent letters to Governor Brown urging a veto, and the ongoing efforts of Gary Conover, WUD’s director of government relations.

“Our members made their voices known and had a real impact on this decision,” said Bledsoe. “We are fortunate to have a legislative advocate like Gary Conover who is tireless in advocating for the needs of our members. This was truly a team effort and everyone deserves thanks for a job well done.”

Looking ahead, Bledsoe commented, “WUD is committed to continuing to work with labor, the Governor, his Secretary of Agriculture, and other interests to promote the interests and well-being of workers on California dairies.”

In his veto statement, Brown noted that he signed into law the nation’s first agricultural labor relations act, the ALRA. “The proponents of SB104 argue that ALRA no longer works and must be drastically changed, he said. “SB104 is indeed a drastic change and I appreciate the frustrations that have given rise to it. But, I am not yet convinced that the far reaching proposals of this bill—which alter in a significant way the guiding assumptions of the ALRA—are justified. Before restructuring California’s carefully crafted agricultural labor law, it is only right that the legislature consider legal provisions that more faithfully track its original framework. The process should include all those who are affected by the ALRA.”

Brown said he was “deeply committed to the success of the ALRA and stands ready to engage in whatever discussion—public and private—that will accomplish the appropriate changes. As at the beginning, all parties must be heard and, before any product emerges, a wide array of opinions and experiences should be fairly considered. Besides being personally involved, I will direct my Labor and Agricultural Secretaries to reach out to all those who can help us achieve a fair and just result.”

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