BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


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                                 UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 25
          Author:   Steinberg (D)
          Amended:  8/21/14
          Vote:     21

          AYES:  Lieu, Leno, Lara
          NOES:  Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Padilla

           SENATE FLOOR  :  23-10, 5/6/13
          AYES:  Beall, Block, Calderon, Corbett, Correa, De León,  
            DeSaulnier, Evans, Hancock, Hernandez, Hill, Hueso, Jackson,  
            Leno, Lieu, Liu, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Price, Roth,  
            Steinberg, Wright
          NOES:  Anderson, Cannella, Emmerson, Fuller, Gaines, Huff,  
            Knight, Nielsen, Walters, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Berryhill, Galgiani, Lara, Wolk, Yee,  
            Vacancy, Vacancy

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available

           SUBJECT  :    Agricultural labor relations:  contract dispute  

           SOURCE  :     United Farm Workers

           DIGEST  :    This bill makes various changes to the mandatory  
          mediation procedures of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act  
          (ALRA), as specified.


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           Assembly Amendments  narrow the bill by removing the expanded  
          definition of agricultural employer and removing the provision  
          which permitted the filing of a declaration without having to  
          meet the condition that the parties have not previously had a  
          binding contract between them.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Provides for a secret ballot election process for  
             agricultural workers where a petition has been submitted, as  
             specified, asking for the opportunity for workers to decide  
             whether to select a particular union as their collective  
             bargaining representative.  

          2. Requires that the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB)  
             follow applicable precedents of the National Labor Relations  

          3. Provides for a mandatory mediation process for negotiating a  
             collective bargaining agreement between an agricultural  
             employer and a certified labor organization any time after:

             A.    90 days after a renewed demand to bargain by a labor  
                organization or agricultural employer certified before  
                January 1, 2003;

             B.    90 days after an initial demand to bargain by a labor  
                organization or agricultural employer certified before  
                January 1, 2003; or

             C.    60 days after the ALRB certified a labor organization,  
                or rejects a decertification election, due to employer  

          4. Specifies that the mandatory mediation process only applies  
             to agricultural employers of 25 or more employees.

          5. Provides that within 60 days after the ALRB issues a final  
             order on the mediation, either the agricultural employer, the  
             labor organization, or the ALRB may file an action to enforce  
             the mediation agreement in superior court.  No stay on a  



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             final order of the ALRB can be issued unless the court finds  
             all of the following conditions are met:

             A.    The appellant has demonstrated that he/she will be  
                irreparably harmed by the implementation of the ALRB's  
                order, and 

             B.    The appellant has demonstrated a likelihood of success  
                on appeal. 

          6. Provides the above-discussed mandatory mediation process can  
             occur only if all of the following conditions are met:

             A.    The parties have failed to reach agreement for at least  
                one year after the date on which the labor organization  
                made its initial request to bargain. 

             B.    The employer has committed an unfair labor practice.

          This bill:

          1.Requires that the ALRB's order must be implemented while an  
            ALRB review is pending.

          2.Provides that a court may only issue a stay if: 

             A.   The appellant has demonstrated by clear and convincing  
               evidence that he/she will be irreparably harmed by the  
               implementation of the ALRB's order. 

             B.   The appellant has demonstrated by clear and convincing  
               evidence a likelihood of success on appeal. 

          1.Requires the court deciding the stay of ALRB order to provide  
            written findings and analysis supporting the decision to grant  
            a stay.

           The mandatory mediation process  .  The mandatory mediation  
          process was created by two bills, SB 1156 (Burton, Chapter 1145,  
          Statutes of 2002) and AB 2596 (Wesson, Chapter 1146, Statutes of  
          2002).  While the provisions of the mediation process have  
          undergone some minor tweaks, the mediation process provided  



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          under existing law remains largely unchanged.  Principally, the  
          limitations on when an agricultural employer or a labor  
          organization can ask for the mandatory mediation process remain  
          the same.  

          They are:

          1. The parties have failed to reach agreement for at least one  
             year after the date on which the labor organization made its  
             initial request to bargain. 

          2. The employer has committed an unfair labor practice. 

          3. The parties have not previously had a binding contract  
             between them.

          Assuming the above-requirements are met and the above-discussed  
          timelines are past, a request for mandatory mediation triggers a  
          specific process.  The ALRB must immediately issue an order  
          directing both parties to meditation and asks the California  
          State Mediation and Conciliation Service for a list of nine  
          mediators who have experience in labor mediation.  Both parties  
          select a mediator from the list; if they cannot agree, they  
          strike names from the list until a mediator is selected by the  
          process of elimination.  The costs of the mediation process are  
          borne equally by both parties.

          Upon appointment, the mediator schedules a 30 day period for  
          mediation, which can be extended if necessary.  If issues are  
          outstanding after the 30 day period, the mediation process is  
          considered exhausted.  Within 21 days, the mediator issues the  
          final terms of a collective bargaining agreement, including  
          issues in dispute by the parties.  If the mediator decides  
          issues in dispute, the mediator must explain the basis for  
          his/her ruling.  Within seven days of the ruling, either party  
          may appeal a mediator's decision to the ALRB.  The ALRB may only  
          review the mediators decision if:

          1.The mediator's decision goes beyond wages, hours, and working  
            conditions of employment;

          2.The mediator's decision is based on clearly erroneous findings  
            of material fact; or 



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          3.The mediator's report is arbitrary or capricious. 

          If none of the above conditions exists, the mediator's report  
          becomes the final order of the ALRB.  If one or more of the  
          above conditions exists, then the mediator mediates the process  
          again.  If, after issuing a new decision, a party believes that  
          the mediator is corrupt, then a new mediator would be called in.  
           Finally, either party could ask for a stay from a court.  A  
          stay would be granted if the court believed that the mediator's  
          decision would cause irreparable economic harm and the appeal  
          had a strong chance for success. 

           Prior legislation  .  SB 126 (Steinberg, Chapter 697, Statutes of  
          2011) reformed the ALRA to provide explicit authority to the  
          ALRB for bargaining orders, to provide explicit timelines for  
          election challenges and to strengthen mandatory mediation  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/29/14)

          United Farm Workers of America (source)
          California Chiropractic Association
          California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union
          California Conference of Machinists
          California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
          California Professional Firefighters
          California School Employees Association
          California Teamsters Public Affairs Council
          Engineers and Scientists of California
          International Longshore and Warehouse Union
          Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
          North Bay Labor Council
          Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21
          San Francisco Labor Council
          San Mateo Labor Council
          State Building and Construction Trades Council
          Teamsters Union, Local 890
          UNITE HERE!
          United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Western States Council
          Utility Workers Union of America, Local 132



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           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/29/14) 

          Agricultural Council of California
          Agricultural Personnel Management Association
          Allied Grape Growers
          American Pistachio Growers
          California Association of Cattlemen
          California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
          California Association of Wheat Growers
          California Association of Wine Grape Growers
          California Bean Shippers Association
          California Cattelmen's Association
          California Chamber of Commerce
          California Citrus Mutual
          California Cotton Ginners Association
          California Cotton Growers Association
          California Dairies, Inc.
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Grain and Feed Association
          California Grape and Treefruit League
          California Peach Growers Association
          California Pear Growers Association
          California Seed Association
          California State Floral Association
          California Tomato Growers Association
          Family Winemakers of California
          Far West Equipment Dealers Association
          Friant Water Authority
          Nisei Farmers League
          Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce
          Raisin Bargaining Association
          San Gabriel Valley Regional Chamber
          Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce
          Southwest California Legislative Council
          Ventura County Agricultural Processors Association
          Western Agricultural Processors Association
          Western Growers Association
          Western United Dairymen

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The bill's sponsor, United Farm Workers  
          of America, states: 

            [This bill] honors the results of secret ballot elections by  



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            allowing for binding mediation to resolve collective  
            bargaining disputes for the duration of the union's  
            certification following a secret ballot election. 

            Adopted into law 2002, the original binding mediation law for  
            first contracts has worked.  Decades-long legal maneuvering  
            and delay has been replaced by collective bargaining  
            agreements covering thousands of California farm workers.   
            Those contracts have raised wages, halted arbitrary and  
            inhumane treatment, and stopped sexual harassment. 

            However, as first contracts expire some employers are refusing  
            to negotiate new ones.  D'Arrigo Farms delayed signing a first  
            contract for 32 years following a secret ballot election won  
            by farm workers.  The company has refused to enter into a new  
            contract since 2010. 

            [This bill] also addresses an enforcement loophole in the 2002  
            law that has been identified by the ALRB.  In some specific  
            cases, the ALRB is unable to enforce a mediator's decision or  
            to implement new wages.  This past summer, a mediator imposed  
            a first contract at Ace Tomato - a farm where farm workers  
            first voted for the union in 1989.  This first contract gave  
            workers wage increases, workplace protections, and the ability  
            to resolve disputes through grievance and arbitration  
            procedures.  Yet, even after two decades of legal maneuvers by  
            Ace, when workers requested that the ALRB enforce the contract  
            that Ace was refusing to implement, the ALRB concluded that it  
            does not have the power to enforce the contract.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents contend that, by expanding  
          the application of the mediation process to include all future  
          collective bargaining agreement negotiations, this bill replaces  
          negotiations between labor and management in agriculture by  
          continuously repeating third-party intervention in setting the  
          terms and conditions of employment.  They contend that this  
          negates any possibility of fostering labor and management  
          cooperation in future negotiations by providing incentive for  
          one party to simply hold on its positions until mediation can be  
          commenced in the relatively short time periods provided for. 

          In addition, opponents claim that this bill continuously takes  
          away the important right of agricultural employees to have the  
          opportunity to review and vote on whether to ratify negotiated  



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          collective bargaining agreements.  They note that this past year  
          has included several situations in which a certification of a  
          labor organization had been left dormant by the labor  
          organization for years or even decades, only to be utilized to  
          apply the mediation provisions to obtain collective bargaining  
          agreements without allowing employees any opportunity to decide  
          whether they wished to be represented by the labor organization  
          that had forgotten them for decades, or to ratify any collective  
          bargaining agreement that might be ultimately imposed upon them.  
           Opponents conclude that this bill prevents employees from ever  
          having an opportunity to decide their own fate due to the  
          limitations on when election can be conducted under the ALRA.  

          PQ/JA:k  8/29/14   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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