The measure would require binding mediation if unions and farmers can’t reach a collective bargaining agreement – and give the Agriculture Labor Relations Board the power to enforce a mediator’s decision.
Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Modesto) says the proposal wouldn’t tilt the playing field unfairly in either direction. “This bill is about finding agreement should negotiations break down through a fair process and upholding the integrity of collective bargaining,” he says.
But growers fear the measure would stack the deck against them – and mounted a heavy lobbying effort against it. Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare) says she’s worried about the measure’s unintended consequences. “Why would you ever negotiate with an employer when you can get an amenable mediator to impose a contract?” she says.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for a final vote. If approved, it would move to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.