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Farm workers call for voting rights on Cesar Chavez Day

People across California spent Thursday reflecting on the legacy of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

Although many people who marched alongside Chávez in the 1960s and 1970s say the conditions of agricultural workers have improved, they also believe that more work is needed.

On Thursday, agricultural workers’ rights activists stood outside the former Monterey County Jail, asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Election Act (AB 2183).

The bill would allow agricultural workers to vote by mail for union elections. A similar bill (AB 616) was vetoed by Newsom last year.

Lauro Barajas, regional director of United Farm Workers (UFW), says “influence” and “intimidation” in the workplace are problems that many farm workers face when participating in union elections.

A painting by protester Gary Karnes outside the former Monterey County Prison depicts the lives of farm workers. Salinas, California, March 31, 2022.

“Newsom asked us last year to vote for him by mail,” Barajas said. “This year it’s going to ask us to vote by mail, then, why farm workers can’t have this right on their own.”

Currently, farm workers vote on union matters while they are owned by the company. The bill, inspired by the California Voter Election Act of 2016, would give voters more options to vote: by mail, by email, or at a polling station.

Farm workers call for voting rights on Cesar Chavez Day Source link Farm workers call for voting rights on Cesar Chavez Day

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