True to the nature of the Washington, D.C. swamp, President Joe Biden and his ilk latched on to an opportunity to score political points on a piece of legislation expected to fail in a seemingly no-lose scenario for Democrats.
Last week, the California legislature advanced the Agricultural Labor Relation Voting Choice Act promoted by the United Farm Workers (UFW) to the desk of Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Having already vetoed similar legislation last year, and expected to do so again this time around, Biden’s team capitalized on currying favor ahead of any rejection while pressing the governor to support it.
“Farmworkers worked tirelessly and at great personal risk to keep food on America’s tables during the pandemic,” a statement by Biden released by the White House read in part. “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. I am grateful to California’s elected officials and union leaders for leading the way.”
Seemingly immune to hypocrisy, Newsom’s spokesperson Erin Mellon emailed the Fresno Bee to explain the governor’s position and laid out his opposition as being part of a concern over “the integrity of the election.”
“Gov. 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,” she wrote, laying out standard Democratic positions before specifying, “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.”
That statement from Mellon stands in stark contrast to Newsom’s continued promotion of mail-in voting in California since even before the 2020 presidential election and ever since where it has benefited him as constituents mounted a recall effort.
CA is now a vote by mail state.
Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov election.
We’ll also provide safe in-person voting options.
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. No one should be forced to risk their health to exercise that right.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 8, 2020
CA you have just 10 MORE DAYS to turn in your ballot!
Vote NO on the Republican Recall. Mail your ballot. Then tell your friends to do the same.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 5, 2021
As it stands, the current system for farm workers to vote in union elections involves in-person voting, typically at the place of employment. Another issue with the system presented in the legislation is it does not allow for the employer to be made aware when a vote to unionize commences, something proponents of the bill argue would open the door for intimidation.
The bill also allows for workers to obtain assistance in filling out their mail-in ballot, raising serious concerns as to the veracity of the votes cast.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) too got in on the opportunity to posture for the people of California as she tweeted last week, “CA farmworkers provide for our families–but far too many can’t provide for theirs because they are exploited and don’t have a voice on the job. We can mend this injustice by expanding workers’ rights. I urge the governor to sign #AB2183 for the farmworkers and For The Children.”
CA farmworkers provide for our families — but far too many can’t provide for theirs because they are exploited and don’t have a voice on the job. We can mend this injustice by expanding workers’ rights. I urge the governor to sign #AB2183 for the farmworkers and For The Children.
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) August 30, 2022
As did UFW president Teresa Romero who boosted the president’s message as his approval rating has struggled because of his failing policies. “Today, President Biden communicated to the country his support for #AB2183–the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act. Farmworkers are grateful. ¡Sí se puede!”
Today, President Biden communicated to the country his support for #AB2183– the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act.
Farmworkers are grateful. ¡Sí se puede! pic.twitter.com/SJ7OcUhxjl
— Teresa Romero (@UFWPresident) September 5, 2022
Biden’s statement went on to remind that it was still up to the people whether or not they chose to organize while he, himself, has made backroom deals with Amazon despite campaign promises to only support employers who committed “not to run anti-union campaigns.”
“Government should work to remove–not erect–barriers to workers organizing,” the president’s statement expressed. “But ultimately workers must make the choice whether to organize a union.”
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