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Farmworkers Hope To Gain Governor's Support During Cesar Chavez Day Demonstration

Farmworkers in wide-brimmed straw hats and long jackets clap together under the white-hot sun. Their faces are half obscured by colorful bandanas as they stand on a dirt patch next to a dusty tractor and a Porta-Potty. There is green farmland behind them on the horizon.
The United Farm Workers Foundation rallied to urge Gov. Newsom to sign a bill that would allow union members to vote by mail in union elections.
(TODEC Legal Center
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The United Farm Workers Foundation demonstrated Thursday afternoon to celebrate Cesar Chavez, the late civil rights activist, and to advocate for a bill allowing farmworkers to vote by mail in union elections.

UFW Foundation spokesperson Daniel Larios said the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Actwould help workers participate in union elections without intimidation from their bosses.

“This past election cycle, we had a mass vote-by-mail throughout the state. It's only fitting that we have union elections that have the same ability to vote-by-mail without having any trouble in getting their voices heard through these union elections.”

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The state legislature passed the bill last year. Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed it, stating he saw “various inconsistencies and procedural issues related to the collection and review of ballot cards.”

Larios says the goal of the demonstration was to gain Newsom's support for the bill.

“We're hoping that we have more support this year, and we encourage him to listen to the voices of Californians and sign the bill when it comes to the desk.” Larios said.

Thursday was Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday honoring the labor movement icon who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, which later came to be known as the United Farm Workers union.

His activism helped to usher in the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which gave agricultural workers the right to form unions and collectively bargain for better working conditions.

The UFW and Senator Mark Stone, both co-sponsors of the voting bill, are currently working with Newsom to make alterations, according to Cal Matters.

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