Bill would enforce farm labor negotiations


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has approved legislation changing the ground rules for negotiations between farmers and fieldworkers by giving state regulators more authority to act.

The bill lets the Agricultural Labor Relations Board require binding mediation between the employer and union even if one side is appealing an unfair labor practice decision in court. It also keeps farm contracts in place if the agribusiness restructures its ownership.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says his SB25 would affect about a half-dozen of California's 86,000 farms. Small farms would be exempt.

The Sacramento Democrat says some owners are exploiting a loophole in a decade-old farm labor law to delay enacting contracts with unionized farm workers.

The bill passed 23-10 on Monday over Republican objections and goes to the Assembly.

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