In less than a week, the governor’s administration drafted and then lawmakers passed a bill making substantial changes to elections for farmworker unions.
The cleanup bill codifies a closed-door agreement between Gov. Gavin Newsom and United Farm Workers last year, after the governor bowed to pressure under President Joe Biden to sign the bill. It eliminates the option for a mail-in ballot and caps the number of card check elections—a new and controversial system allowing union organizers to collect and submit ballots.
Republicans blasted their colleagues for fast-tracking the bill with minimal public debate. Farm groups disparaged the agreement and the bill for excluding them entirely from the process.
Last year proponents debated at length over the benefits of mail-in voting, arguing AB 2183 was simply granting farmworkers an option that all Californians now benefit from in general elections. They downplayed comments that the bill was essentially about card check.

Don’t miss a beat! It’s easy to sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! For the latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.
“Farmworkers are not really given the opportunity to be able to take a ballot home, vote their own conscience their own way, outside of all of the other external influences,” said former Assemblymember Mark Stone of Monterey Bay, who authored AB 2183. “That's all this bill is doing.”