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Controversial Farmworker Bill Passes Assembly

Photo courtesy CalChannel

The Assembly roll call vote for SB 25.

Photo courtesy CalChannel

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.


Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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