FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Sewing Grape Seeds of Wrath: Cesar Chavez Meets George Orwell in California’s Fields
You might not have known this until now but Thursday was César Chávez Day. Born on March 31, 1927, Chávez was the co-founder (along with Dolores Huerta) of the United Farm Workers. Though he died in 1993, Chávez’s legacy as a fighter for farm workers’ rights continues unabated. It is, therefore, somewhat ironic (not to mention a perversion of that legacy) that his successors in the UFW, along with California Democrats, have used the memory of César Chávez to push to effectively strip California farm workers of their right to vote by secret-ballot on whether or not to unionize.
As was noted on Sunday, the UFW and its Democrat allies in the California legislature are pushing SB104—a bill that forces card check on farm workers and their employers, as well as imposes ridiculous and heavy fines on those employers.
On Thursday, over the objections of state Republicans and the business community, the California Senate passed SB104 along a party line vote.
Senate Democrats said the current method of holding an election to unionize gives employers an opportunity to intimidate farmworkers before the vote.
Republican lawmakers said the pending bill could let union organizers pressure farmworkers into signing the cards saying that they want union representation. The bill is opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation, and organizations representing manufacturers, retailers and restaurant owners.
The Senate took up the measure on a state holiday honoring United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez.
In an even more ironic twist of fate, although newly-elected governor Jerry Brown has not indicated whether or not he would sign it once it goes through the Democrat-controlled Assembly (it’s likely he will), it was in 1975 that then-governor Jerry Brown signed the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, giving farm workers the right to unionize.
According to President Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, the one-sidedness of SB104 is because, essentially, employers are the only ones who can violate farm workers’ rights.
His bill, SB104, permits a $20,000 civil penalty against employers who engage in unfair labor practices but no similar punishment if union organizers pressure farmworkers. Steinberg said that is because the labor relations board has found that most violations are by employers.
Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, called the distinction “manifestly unjust and unfair.”
There is no reason to move away from elections that have worked for decades, said Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Willows.
“This would remind me, perhaps, of an extra chapter out of the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell where we’re going to ‘increase freedom’ by removing the secret ballot,” LaMalfa said.
Steinberg said the bill “is about power, but it’s also about fundamental fairness.”
It is amazing these days how unions and their Democrat puppets in their Orwellian fashion purport to support workers’ rights when, in fact, they work so hard to take them away.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Photo Attribution: Zest-pk