After winning a key legislative fight to lower the threshold to win a union election, the United Farm Workers have won their first representation election via card check.
Driving the news: Workers at DMB Packing, a tomato farm and packing company in Stanislaus County, have become the first to successfully unionize under a new California law that aims to ease the process for farmworkers to unionize, reversing a number of UFW-friendly regulations invalidated by the Supreme Court.
- Under the new law, farmworkers are able to vote for union representation by signing union authorization cards, a process known as card check.
- In this case, workers at DMB Packing organized under the United Farm Workers (UFW) and will be joining nearly 7,000 agricultural workers represented by the UFW at 20 California companies.
- The UFW has long been an advocate for farmworker rights, although its membership has declined since the farmworker movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Previously, farmworkers voted for union representation through a two-step secret ballot process conducted at their worksite, often on employer property.
- In 2022, UFW members and supporters marched from Delano to Sacramento, urging Governor Gavin Newsom to allow farmworkers to vote via card check or by mail. Eventually, a compromise was reached, allowing farmworkers to vote by card check but removing the vote-by-mail option and other administrative processes.
What’s next: The election results were certified by California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board, but DMB Packing has filed objections, claiming mishandling of the ballot process and inclusion of workers who should not be part of the union.
- The company can still appeal the results, and a hearing on the dispute will be held in late November.