The PJ Tatler

Uh-oh: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes card-check legislation

A sign of sanity in Sacramento?

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have made it far easier for farmworkers to join labor unions, 36 years after making history in his first term by signing a law giving the low-wage employees the right to organize.

Brown’s veto disappointed and angered dozens of farmworkers who had camped outside his office late into the night Tuesday to try to pressure him into signing the measure. Democratic lawmakers joined supporters in the hallway as they awaited his decision, which came at 11 p.m. in the form of a press release to reporters. The governor refused to come out and talk to the large crowd, despite pleas from Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers union.

SB104, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have allowed farmworkers to vote for or against unionization by signing a card instead of holding a secret-ballot election – a process called “majority signup election” and also known as “card-check.”

But Gov. Moonbeam said “No” to the union power grab. I am genuinely surprised. My PJ colleagues in California…what happened here? Who got some Scott Walker in your Jerry Brown? Clearly, Brown failed to stay bought.

Brown is also closely allied with unions, who supported the bill and donated $3.1 million to his election campaign last year, according to the nonprofit money tracker – though only $2,300 was from agricultural labor unions. The governor received $343,000 from groups that opposed the measure, Maplight found, including about $5,000 from farm organizations.

Obama’s NLRB is suing a couple of states that have passed anti-card-check legislation.

Not to tout my own prescience or anything, but the other day on PJTV Report I predicted that after Gov. Walker signed a balanced budget for Wisconsin that even the media had to acknowledge was pretty solid, we would see other states increase their resistance to union pressure. That was an easy call to make. But I didn’t expect Jerry Brown to be the first to prove me right.

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