Controversial Farmworker Bill Passes Assembly



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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 19, 2013

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.

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