SB 104 passed the California Assembly today, and is heading to Governor Brown’s desk. The potential new law will transform the way unions are created in California’s agricultural workplaces by eliminating the need for secret ballot elections. A union will be able to gain representation of a bargaining unit by submitting a petition accompanied by representation cards which have been signed by a majority of the unit. After submission of a petition the Agricultural Labor Relations Board will have five days to conduct an investigation into the legitimacy of the cards, and certify the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for the applicable set of employees. The bill will also create civil and criminal penalties for employers who are found to have engaged in unfair labor practices.
Governor Brown has not taken a public position on whether or not he will sign SB 104 into law, but it is anticipated that he will.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT: This bill will only increase the already rapid rate of the union selection process for agricultural employers. Employers need to understand how to identify when a card check campaign is taking place, and what to do about it. Immediate response is essential, and in some cases delays can result in significant fines. Contact legal counsel to understand how to best prepare your workplace.