April 20, 2018 – -Legislation attempting to loosen labor union’s grasp on ag workers failed passage in Labor Committee this week. The bills, sponsored by farm workers disgruntled with the UFW and unionization progress, failed passage but did generate a lively debate and discussion concerning many controversial ag labor issues.
AB 3092 (Patterson) would have considered a labor organization’s abandonment for 3-plus years an unfair labor practice requiring decertification of the labor organization by the ALRB. AB 3093 (Patterson) would have given workers the right to ratify a contract that is the result of the mandatory mediation and conciliation process.
AB 3094 (Patterson) would have expanded the basis upon which the ALRB may refuse to certify a union election and permitted the ALRB to order a second election unless misconduct by the employer/union is deemed egregious enough, in which case the ALRB will certify against the offending party.
The debate surrounding these bills put farm workers against Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez -Fletcher, the author of the farm worker overtime bill, and a staunch advocate for labor unions. Dozens of farm workers attended and testified to demonstrate their support for the bills and articulate their frustration with current law that will result in them having to be represented by the UFW. However, in the end, their rational legal arguments, emotional tales and pleas were not enough to convince the Committee.