Gov. Jerry Brown is facing a choice that pits his longtime allies in the farm labor movement against business groups he’s been cultivating for support on a special election to extend temporary taxes.
A bill that’s almost certain to land on Brown’s desk soon would allow farm workers to form unions without a secret-ballot election. Under card check rules, a union would be recognized if a majority of a farm’s employees signed union cards. It’s a change long-sought by organized labor and opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
Brown marched with United Farmworkers founder Cesar Chavez and, like many Democratic officeholders, has close ties with organized labor. However, his state budget plan is contingent on an extension of temporary income, sales and vehicle license taxes. During his campaign, Brown pledged to submit all tax increases to the voters, and he has gotten support for a special election – though not necessarily the taxes – from the state chamber and some other business interests.
So, will he risk alienating business by signing SB 104, the card-check bill, or veto a measure backed by supporters in labor?
What do you think he should do?
– Jim Sweeney