Senate Bill (SB) 1474 has been terminated. SB 1474 would have required the Agricultural Relations Board (ALRB) to set aside an election in the event of employer misconduct and require the ALRB to certify a labor union as the exclusive representative if it had established that at least 50 percent of the employees to be represented had signed authorization cards prior to the election. The bill has been closely followed by not only agricultural employers but others as well, who feared that the bill was a strategic play to unionize more workers nationwide.
In his veto message to the California State Senate, Governor Schwarzenegger commented:
“The provisions of SB 1474 represent a serious departure from existing law. The provisions of this bill tip the scale in favor of the union by only allowing the ALRB to consider any misconduct, which is not defined, by the employer when making the determination to set aside the election, but does not take into consideration the possibility that the employer may have similar allegations of election misconduct by the labor organization. This remedy should only be allowed in cases where the ALRB finds the possibility of erasing the effects of past unfair labor practices and of ensuring a fair election is slight, and that employee sentiment once expressed through cards would, on balance, be better protected by a bargaining order.”
The Governor also highlighted another fundamental problem with the bill, stating that “in order for me to sign a bill that alters the secret ballot election, the provisions governing a certification election should also govern a decertification election. Overturning and reversing secret ballot election results should not be taken lightly and may be appropriate in only the most egregious cases.”
Score: Employers-1, Unions-0.