WASHINGTON D.C. (KTXL) — President Joe Biden publicly voiced support Monday for a California farmworkers labor bill that Governor Gavin Newsom has previously expressed concern about.
Assembly Bill 2183, also known as California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act, would give agricultural workers either the right to vote on union representation by mail or to gain representation by unions through a “card check” or similar process.
The bill was passed by the legislature on August 30 and sent to the governor’s desk, but the governor has yet to sign or veto it.
The White House released a statement in favor of the state making it easier for farmworkers.
“In the state with the largest population of farmworkers, the least we owe them is an easier path to make a free and fair choice to organize a union,” Biden said. “I am grateful to California’s elected officials and union leaders for leading the way.”
The governor’s office said last month that Newsom had problems with the bill in its current form, in particular with the mail-in balloting process which allows labor representatives to request ballots on behalf of employees.
“Governor Newsom is eager to sign legislation that expands opportunity for agricultural workers to come together and be represented, and he supports changes to state law to make it easier for these workers to organize,” Newsom’s communication director Erin Mellon said. “… However, we cannot support an untested mail-in election process that lacks critical provisions to protect the integrity of the election, and is predicated on an assumption that government cannot effectively enforce laws,”