For all of the talk about reforming the system and that Sacramento is broke and they are working to fix the problem, the leadership still does not get it.
We face a multi-billion dollar deficit and they are still driving business out of our state. Many agricultural operations had the opportunity to expand their operations and those who have done so, are now choosing other states to bring those new jobs.
So while we are losing the jobs, the special interest groups continue to demand more under the guise that they are protecting the public interest.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is the latest to pander to the special interests in pressing SB 104. This is a pro-union bill that will only impact farming and ranching operations in the short-term, but will quickly expand to other industries.
This "Card-check" bill will devastate agriculture, taking more jobs out of our economy.
The issue is how can a labor union organize agricultural workers. Today, if the labor union finds employees that are being mistreated, they can organize their campaign to unionize these agricultural employees. This is the utmost democratic process in the world, a secret-ballot vote by the employees to decide if they will become unionized.
In instances where there has been widespread dissent in the work force, the employees have voted to create a union to negotiate with the farmer or rancher.
In many instances, the employee complaints did not carry through to the majority of workers and the union was not formed.
This represents a fair and democratic process.
Now the labor unions want something other than a secret ballot. SB 104 is their dream bill that would REQUIRE an employer to provide personal and confidential information about their employees to any special interest union. In this instance, the union then could go into the home of each employee and collect their "signature card" to certify a union.
If this collection agency approach results in a majority of employees signing a card, the union will be forced on the employer and employees without a secret ballot vote. So, democracy in our state is replaced by another bill designed to hurt the farm owners and the employees so the special interest unions can thrive.
Ultimately, this system will allow the union officials access to the homes of our workers where they can threaten and intimidate. The current system for determining whether farm workers will be represented by a union, a state government agency supervises the secret ballot election and ensures there is no intimidation or coercion. If SB 104 passes, the decision about unionization will be made on front porches, grocery stores, schools and anywhere farm workers gather when they are not working. They will be subjected to intimidation and coercions by union organizers. Collecting these ballots directly from the employee is an invasion of their privacy and is a system that is ripe for abuse.
Please cast your vote for democracy in action by calling Senator's Tom Berryhill and Lois Wolk and urge them to vote no on SB 104.
If you want to do even more, call our members of the Assembly (Buchanan, Galgiani, Huber and Bill Berryhill) to do the same.