Gavin Newsom Caves to Unions and Pelosi, Signs Vote-by-Mail for Farmworker Unions

Gavin Newsom farmworkers (Office of the Governor)
Office of the Governor

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) yielded to demands by unions, President Joe Biden, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and signed a law allowing farmworker unions to conduct elections via vote-by-mail, after vetoing a similar bill last year over concerns about integrity.

Last year, Breitbart News reported, Newsom rejected the proposal:

The bill, AB 616, would have allowed farm workers to use the same mechanism that Democrats have championed in recent elections, including Newsom’s own recall election last week. Democrats have also characterized Republican efforts to rein in the practice as “racist,” brushing aside concerns about potential fraud.

Newsom’s veto marks the second time this year “progressives” have resisted vote-by-mail when it comes to their own interests; Amazon did so in a union vote in January.

In response to Newsom’s veto, the UFW [United Farm Workers] has announced that it will march to the French Laundry, the elite establishment where the governor dined, maskless, with lobbyist friends last November after issuing guidelines to discourage other Californians from eating in restaurants. The incident motivated efforts to recall Newsom — which the UFW opposed.

This year, the unions tried again with Assembly Bill 2183. Newsom vetoed it again, saying it needed revisions. President Biden publicly backed the bill, as did Vice President Kamala Harris, infuriating Newsom, who owns a winery that includes vineyards in Napa County. Breitbart News reported:

Newsom’s office is on record saying they “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.”

Newsom is “privately seething” over Biden’s endorsement of the bill, multiple people with knowledge of Newsom’s thinking told Politico.

Finally, Newsom signed the bill on Wednesday, in a ceremony attended by farmworker union leaders and Democratic politicians. The Los Angeles Times noted: “The new law expands voting options for farmworkers by allowing them to vote by mail or drop off a ballot card at the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Farmworkers can also receive assistance filling out their ballots. Previously, secret ballot elections were held at a polling place designated by the board.”

In a statement, Newsom’s office touted a “supplemental agreement” he had reached with the unions, ostensibly to protect ballot integrity:

The supplemental agreement between the Newsom Administration, UFW, and the California Labor Federation includes a cap on the number of card-check petitions over the next five years, and will allow the ALRB to adequately protect worker confidentiality and safety. This additional agreement would be codified into law with a bill next year that would be supported by both the administration and the union. The agreement will be codified with additional legislation next year backed by the union and the administration.

Newsom is thought to be positioning himself for a presidential run in 2024 in the event that Biden decides not to seek reelection.


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