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Gov. Newsom signs bill expanding union rights for farmworkers

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill expanding union rights for farmworkers Wednesday. File Photo by Eric Thayer/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c5dcbb070ee054f2a952d0d8ef3802fc/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill expanding union rights for farmworkers Wednesday. File Photo by Eric Thayer/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation expanding union rights for farmworkers after threatening to veto it earlier.

Newsom signed the bill into law Wednesday after President Joe Biden and other powerful Democrats including Vice-President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported it.

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"California's farmworkers are the lifeblood of our state, and they have the fundamental right to unionize and advocate for themselves in the workplace," Newsom said in a statement. "Our state has been defined by the heroic activism of farmworkers, championed by American icons like Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong. California is proud to stand with the next generation of leaders carrying on this movement."

The new farmworker legislation will allow workers to join the United Farm Workers or other unions by signing certified union cards filed with the California Agriculture Relations Board.

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"Farm workers across the state organized and sacrificed to make their voices heard and to pass AB 2183," the UFW said in a statement Wednesday. "California and many parts of the country heard their voices, and farm workers felt the deep and historic solidarity from all parts of California and all across the nation."

The UFW said they will work with Gov. Newsom and the California legislature to make agreed changes to the new law next year that will ease implementation so that "farm workers can participate in elections free from intimidation and deportation."

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According to a supplemental agreement on the legislation between the Newsom administration, the UFW and the California Labor Federation, the number of "card-check" petitions will be capped at 75 over the next five years. That will be codified into state law next year.

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