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Biden endorsed a labor bill sitting on Newsom's desk. Will Newsom sign it?

The United Farm Worker president said they made some last-minute changes to address the governor's concerns.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Despite a rare move from President Joe Biden telling Governor Gavin Newsom to sign a bill, Newsom has not taken action on it yet. 

The bill sitting on his desk would allow farmworkers to vote by mail in union elections. 

President Biden said California has the largest population of farmworkers, and the least the state owes them is an easier path forward to decide if they want to unionize. If the governor vetoes the bill, the headlines write themselves,  "Governor Newsom vetoes a bill that the president endorsed."

Assembly Bill 2183 would allow farmworkers to vote in union elections by mail, as opposed to voting locations. The United Farm Workers (UFW) union says it is intimidating and has led to some deportations in the past. 

Farmworkers marched across the state from Delano to Sacramento to rally in support of the bill. UFW president Teresa Romero said even though they accommodated 90% of the governor’s requests, she still had no idea if the governor will sign the bill. This is the second year the bill has passed the legislature. Newsom vetoed it last year. 

"I immediately indicated that, if he decides not to sign, that we're going to march again, we're going to introduce a bill again," Romero said. "We're not going to give up until we win legislation that will protect farmworkers."

Teresa said she’s not sure what her position on the governor is going to be if he vetoes this legislation. 

"Obviously, we agree on many of the decisions that he makes as a governor," Romero said, "but this is something that we will continue to work for, and I hope he understands that this is important for us."

President Biden weighing in almost ensures that if Newsom does veto this bill, it will not be good for his progressive report card. 

"I was very happy that his (Biden's) support for labor was not just in speeches saying 'We support labor,' that took action," Romero said. 

The governor’s concerns include that the bill gives the union too much power and there are flaws in the voting system. To address that, there’s now a sunset clause in the bill. Unless the legislature renews the program in five years, it will automatically expire. 

"The governor gave us some language that he wanted that we pretty much, 90% of what he wanted, we put in the bill," Romero said. "The other 10% unfortunately, would undermined the 90% that we agreed to."

The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto bills.


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