SB104 passed the California assembly Tuesday and will now head to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.
More commonly referred to as the card-check bill, SB 104 is sponsored by the United Farm Workers Union and would effectively eliminate secret ballot elections for union certification.
“We anticipated that the card-check bill would pass out of legislation,” says Michael Marsh, chief executive officer for Western United Dairymen. “Our only hope is that Governor Brown does what Governor Schwarzenegger did four times and vetoes the bill.”
If SB 104 is signed into legislation, a union will be able to gain representation of a bargaining unit by submitting a petition accompanied by representation cards which have been signed by a majority of the unit. After submission of a petition the Agricultural Labor Relations Board will have five days to conduct an investigation into the legitimacy of the cards, and certify the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for the applicable set of employees.
Opponents of this bill believe eliminating secret ballot elections will give a green light to worker intimidation, coercion and bullying from union leaders.
“Eliminating secret ballot election goes against what our democracy stands for,” says Marsh. “Everyone has the right to a secret ballot vote, absent the threat of intimidation.”
No indication has been given by Governor Brown’s office if he will sign SB 104. However, the first time Governor Brown was the Governor for California, he wrote in the requirement for the secret ballot election. “A secret ballot election was something farm workers fought for,” says Marsh. “Now the union wants to turn things around and intimidate workers into joining a union.”
Steep penalties go hand-in-hand with the passing of SB 104. If a dairy farm fails to provide the union detailed information within 48 hours after receiving notification of an organizing effort, including home addresses of employees, he may be fined up to $10,000 per day. An unfair labor practice penalty of up to $20,000 can also be assessed per violation under SB 104.
It is not known the exact day that Governor Brown will receive the bill, but upon receipt he has 10 days to consider the bill. In this time period he can sign the bill, veto it or take no acction. If Governor Brown chooses to take no action, the bill would become law without his signature.
Western United Dairymen is hopeful Governor Brown will veto the bill.
For more information, read: Card-check the bill that just won’t die