Veto of AB 616 A Big Win for Ag

Special OP-Ed 

Vetoing of Bad Farmworker Bill a Win for Ag Community and Republicans

By Jesse Rojas


California is home to the most industrious, plentiful, and fresh food supply thanks to hardworking men and women who serve as farmworkers, ranch hands, and workers in our food supply chain. These workers, like many employees, have the right to unionize or not unionize. In recent years, a union has been out for revenge on workers who chose not to join.

The United Farm Workers (UFW) was once a mighty force, but it’s largely become a greedy organization pushing a liberal agenda. Workers part of the union saw little to no results for their dues for decades and UFW paid the price.

In 2013, workers at a Fresno-based farm voted on whether or not to belong to the UFW. Afraid of the results of the election, the UFW brought the issue to court and forced taxpayers to spend millions before the votes would finally be counted in 2018, five years later. The UFW was rightfully afraid. After settling the issue, the results overwhelmingly showed that workers did not want to join the UFW. The state even formalized a decision ensuring that the election protocol used to opt-out of the UFW, a secret ballot election, would be the exclusive means for recognizing a union. In fact, the Court of Appeal called the attempted suppression of the workers’ votes a civil rights violation by the state agency and the UFW.

This secret ballot election process reflects workers’ fundamental right to choose their representation free from intimidation or coercion. The UFW’s attack on this right this year, via Assembly Bill 616 (Stone), would’ve prohibited the secret ballot and enacted a process called a “card check.” Under this new process, union organizers could have approached a worker and asked them in person to sign a card representing their vote for the union. Since the union would know how the workers vote, they could then intimidate or coerce those who chose they do not want to unionize. It is common for 75% or more workers to sign such cards in advance of a union election, only for a majority to reject the union at the ballot box.

Oddly enough, in a statement in support of the bill, the UFW said that farmworker representation elections should be allowed to be conducted the way political elections are.  If they truly believed this, why did they sponsor a bill to eliminate a secret ballot? Could you imagine what that would look like in a presidential election?

When AB 616 faced a final legislative hurdle, all Senate Republicans voted against the measure while only two Senate Democrats joined them in opposition. That split, while not surprising given the makeup of the legislature, is indicative of a massive failure from Central Valley Democrats.

The California Legislature consists of individuals from across the political spectrum, including what has been dubbed the “Mod-Dem Caucus.” This caucus has previously played a role in killing bad bills on the wishlist of progressive Democrats in the Capitol, including some that disproportionately harm the Valley. So what happened this time?

The so-called “Mod-Dems” failed to whip the votes of their fellow moderate Democrats. While they may have messaged on the bill on social media, or debated against it on camera, they failed to get the job done behind the scenes and allowed it to reach the governor. Thankfully, Gov. Gavin Newsom heard pleas elsewhere. Senate Republicans and farm advocates loudly expressed opposition to the measure.

In a veto letter request to the governor, Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk(Santa Clarita) made an argument that the governor actually used when he rejected the measure on his desk and Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) put out a statement arguing that this measure “contradicts the principles of our American system of Representative Government.”

Borgeas is right. Farmworkers, farmers, Republicans, and now two governors have also agreed. Intimidation is no way to play fair in any election – including union elections.

Time to give it up, UFW. This is a fight you should not win. No se puede!




Jesse Rojas is a farmworker rights activist, spokesperson for Pick Justice, founder of California Farm Workers & Families, and a Central Valley Taxpayers Association board member. Rojas, an immigrant, also launched Mi America En La Radio, the first conservative Spanish-language radio show in the Central Valley. As CEO of The Redd Group, LLC, his organization offers labor relations, human resources consulting, public relations, and political consulting.

2021-09-30T07:58:53-07:00September 30th, 2021|

Gov. Newsom Vetos AB 616 (Card Check)

California Fresh Fruit Association Applauds the Veto of AB 616


The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) would like to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for his veto on AB 616, the most recent version of card check legislation for employee unionization. This bill would have stripped agricultural employees of the right to an impartial, secret ballot election.

President Ian LeMay stated, “On behalf of the Association, we would like to thank Governor Newsom for his veto on of AB 616 today. We appreciate his understanding of the impact this bill would have had on agricultural employees and their right to choose whether or not to have union representation. As stated in the Governor’s veto message, CFFA leadership is ready to work with the Administration, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) in protecting the rights and advancing the opportunities for all California farmworkers.”

LeMay continued, “The Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) has long protected the right of agricultural employees to a secret ballot election supervised by the ALRB, free of intimidation and influence by any interested party. Today’s veto of AB 616 preserves the right to a free and fair election process for all California farmworkers from those who sought to take that right away from them.”

2021-09-22T17:35:03-07:00September 22nd, 2021|

California Grapes Get Air Time

On the Air with California Grapes

Radio commercials for California grapes created with major influencers are live and on the air.

Four radio show influencers have recorded radio commercials focused on choosing Grapes from California as a healthy snack.

Amy Brown voiced radio spots that are running on stations airing The Bobby Bones Show and Women of iHeart Country radio shows, plus on the 4 Things with Amy Brown podcast.

Enrique Santos is reaching Spanish-speaking consumers on stations that air the Tu Mañana program and English-language stations that air On the Move, plus on the Hola, My Name Is podcast.

Mario Lopez voiced California grape spots that are running on stations airing On with Mario Lopez and iHeartRadio Countdown, plus on the On with Mario Lopez podcast.

On stations that air The Steve Harvey Morning Show, California grape spots featuring Nephew Tommy are airing.

The ads will run through mid-December.

You can listen to the August and September spots here. The influencers will record new spots each month.

Photo is  Mario Lopez who voiced a spot

2021-09-22T11:41:13-07:00September 22nd, 2021|

Industry Calls for Governor to Veto Card Check (AB 616)


California Fresh Fruit Association Calls on Gov. Newsom to Veto AB 616

On August 26, the California State Senate voted 24-11 to pass AB 616 (Stone), commonly referred to as “card check.” AB 616 would alter the traditional petition and secret election process overseen by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) in which farmworkers can vote for a union. The California Fresh Fruit Association joined a broad coalition of agricultural organizations to oppose AB 616, which proponents have misleadingly characterized as “vote by mail” legislation. Unlike mail-in voting, AB 616’s process would allow for interested parties to select the timing and manner of a union election, as well as who receives a card check form, and would limit the ability of the ALRB to provide impartial supervision of an election.


CFFA President Ian LeMay stated, “the California State Senate’s vote to pass AB 616 and undermine the integrity of the secret ballot in union elections is beyond disappointing. The right to an impartial, secret ballot election, free from undue pressure, is foundational to the democratic process that all of us cherish as Americans. AB 616 would allow for interested parties (union) to deliver a representation card to a select group of employees to sign in their presence smacks of voter coercion and intimidation – an anathema to the democratic voting process. The bill fails to even require that every employee of a company have the opportunity to vote on who or if they want to be represented.”


LeMay continued, “At the same time that our state legislators are smacking the pulpit regarding protections needed for our state and national voting processes, it is unfathomable that they would strip our farmworker community of that same basic right. We now call on Governor Newsom, to have the same foresight as his predecessor Governor Brown did when he vetoed the previous card check attempt. Veto AB 616 and protect California farmworker’s right to a free and fair election process.”

2021-08-27T11:49:27-07:00August 27th, 2021|

WAPA Joins A Call for Action On Water

Western Ag Processor’s Assocation’s Roger Isom Speaks Up


Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom spoke today at a press conference at the San Luis Reservoir calling on the state to fix our water infrastructure.

Isom joined Senator Melissa Hurtado and a broad group of water districts including Federico Barajas, of the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority; Tom Birmingham, from the Westlands Water District; Jason Phillips of the Friant Water Authority, and Royce Fast from the Kern County Water Agency.

The event was held by Senator Hurtado and held at the San Luis Reservoir to commemorate the speech given by President John F. Kennedy at the same site in 1962 to begin construction of the San Luis Reservoir.

Isom quoted Kennedy stating “this is our task in the simplest of forms.  It is a task to renew and strengthen the American Land and its resources and build up a legacy for those who follow”.  The event also recognized the $100 million received to help infrastructure in the state to help repair canals.  Isom called it a down payment to help the state fix our infrastructure for our farms, cities and every citizen in this state.

2021-08-19T17:34:06-07:00August 19th, 2021|

APG To Have Facebook Live Series with Their Ambassadors, And Others

American Pistachio Growers Kicks Off New Facebook Live Series


Monthly interviews will feature conversations with some of the world’s top athletes, adventurers and renowned nutrition and thought leaders, asking them “What fuels your goals?”


American Pistachio Growers (APG), armed with voluminous data that pistachios are packed with a multitude of benefits for active bodies and minds, is inaugurating a new 2021-22 Facebook Live Series — Friday Fuel-Up with Dr. Mike Roussell


  • to engage some of the most energetic and interesting people in the world with the question, What fuels you? The monthly series, which debuts August 6 and continues the first Friday of every month, is hosted by nutritionist Dr. Mike Roussell, a noted author and nutrition advisor to

Men’s Health Magazine.

“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity to bring to online audiences conversations with some of the world’s top athletes, adventurers and authorities in key areas of life,” said Roussell. “We’ll delve into their mindset, what drives them to succeed in their field, as well as the physical aspect of fueling success. In all episodes, there should be key takeaways that any listener can apply to their own life.”


The first eight months’ line-up of guests reads like a page out of Who’s Who. His first guest on August 6 is Luke Coutinho, a globally renowned holistic lifestyle coach and best-selling author, based in India, who’s known for his take on Eastern philosophy, nutrition and practices that also incorporate well into Western lifestyles.


The balance of the 2021 line-up includes: Scott H. Smith, PhD., Nutritionist and Manager for Nutritional Biochemistry for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, September 3; renowned Big Mountain snow boarder and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jeremy Jones, October 1; two-time Olympic gold medal-winning British triathlete Alistair Brownlee, November 5; and Bryan Snyder, Director of Nutrition for the Denver Broncos, December 3.


For 2022, Roussell will welcome 2021 Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, January 7; Vicky Losada, international soccer star and leading advocate for womens’ and girls’ sports, February 4; and pro quarterback Josh Allen, March 4.


Audiences can join the conversations LIVE between Roussell and Coutinho on August 6 at 10 a.m. PST at, the same time and place for all subsequent episodes in this first Friday-of-the-month series. Recorded programs will also be available on Instagram and YouTube.

2021-07-29T15:18:54-07:00July 29th, 2021|

USDA Radio Often Ignores California!




USDA Radio Newsline Focuses Primarily on Midwest Animal Feed Crops

They do not Seem to Care Much about the Food that People Eat, Except Rice and Peanuts

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

We get a daily email from the USDA Radio Newsline. More often than not, the reporters focus on program crops and not specialty crops. While this email did focus three reports on a new US Forest Service Chief, Randy Moore, and two addition reports on wildfires in the West, the rest of the lineup focused on Soybeans, Corn, Wheat and Barley.  We would hope that USDA would realize where most of the nutritious food is grown. We are talking big ag industries such as Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Tomatoes, Fresh Citrus, Raisin, Wine and Table Grapes; and many other specialty crops that are exclusively grown in California!
Animal feed is important, but what about the crops that consumers love to eat. That would very interesting to listeners around the country listening to hundreds of radio stations!







Monday July 26 Stories

  • U.S. Forest Service Has a New Chief
  • Forest Service Chief-We Need to Go on the Offensive to Help Prevent Wildfires
  • Actuality: Forest Service Chief’s Views on Climate Change and Wildfires
  • Actuality: Some Wildfires Are Behaving in Unexpected, Dangerous Ways
  • Shoppers May Soon See Shrinking Beef Supplies and Rising Prices
  • Dry Weather Leads to Corn, Soybean Condition Declines
  • Actuality: Details on Corn Crop Development
  • Actuality: A Detailed Look at Corn Conditions
  • Actuality: Soybean Crop Development is Progressing Ahead of Schedule
  • Actuality: Soybean Condition Details
  • Spring Wheat Conditions Continue Downward Plunge
  • Actuality: Spring Wheat Harvest is Underway
  • Actuality: Crop Progress Numbers for Barley Sharply Contrast with Last Year
  • Actuality: Winter Wheat Harvest Pace is Ahead of Average
  • Actuality: Rainy Weather Slows Cotton Development
  • Actuality: “Decent-Looking” Cotton Crop
  • Actuality: Rice — Slow Development, Good Condition
  • Actuality: Peanut Crop Pegging Behind Average, but Condition is Good
2021-07-26T17:28:59-07:00July 26th, 2021|

Amendments Needed on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act

Urgent Amendments Needed to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 and the Passage of Dreamers Legislation


The U. S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. NFL President Manuel Cunha stated, “Unfortunately, their version of the legislation did not include employees of packing houses or processing facilities under the definition of ‘agricultural labor or services.’ It is our desire to expand the definition to include employees vital to our community and economic sectors.”

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 would provide farmworkers, who are invaluable to our economy and have lived in this country for years, even decades, an opportunity to earn citizenship.

Community leaders are concerned. Orange Cove City Mayor Victor Lopez said “the hard-working people in our community who work in packing houses should be treated fairly. We urge the Senate to adopt language expanding the definition of the farm workforce.”

Parlier Mayor Alma Beltran, added, “We support our farmworkers. We do not want to split up families. We want our communities to be strong and viable.”

Most recently, the Nisei Farmers League, the African American Farmers of California, the Insure America Project, and numerous Mayors wrote letters to U. S. Senators Feinstein and U. S. Senator Padilla asking them to include employees who work in packing houses and processing facilities to be added to the Senate version of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. Cunha stated, “We intend to contact 43 cities in the Sand Joaquin Valley for their support.”

Cunha further stated, “We are also asking legislation for Dreamers be passed concurrently. In light of the recent federal ruling that new applications for DACA must stop, it is even more important our ‘Dreamers’ are not forgotten in the effort to legalize agricultural workers. In our communities, many Dreamers have parents working in agriculture. To not move forward with DACA legislation leaves thousands to uncertain futures and possible family separations.”

2021-08-05T18:06:05-07:00July 21st, 2021|

Drought Assistance Sought for Central Valley

State Senator Hurtado and Congressman Valadao Urge Gov. Newsom For Help in Drought for Central Valley Counties


 Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) and Congressman David G. Valadao (R-Hanford) released the following statements regarding a letter they sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and the Federal Drought Task Force to ensure that the south Central Valley will be considered in drought decisions:

“California is one state of many, including countries around the world, that is experiencing a drought unlike any other,” said Senator Hurtado. “Farmers of the Central Valley are world leaders and have been at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Support for our farmers equals support for our food—we may not be able to avoid this water crisis, but we can work to avoid a food crisis. There is no room for partisan politics in addressing this enormous challenge. Congressman Valadao, myself, and the Valley Delegation have been working tirelessly to address the needs of our constituents, farmers and farmworkers. We will continue to do so.”

“Central Valley farmers are doing everything they can to mitigate this crisis, and we need you to do everything you can to help them,” said Congressman Valadao. “Senator Hurtado and I understand the challenges both state and federal officials currently face in allocating extremely limited water supplies to meet all the demands of the state. There is no doubt that the agriculture industry can, should, and currently is playing a role in reducing water use during these difficult times. Not only have many farmers in our districts implemented more modern technology and irrigation practices to efficiently use water, but farmers across our districts have already fallowed fields and prematurely ripped out permanent crops in an effort to reduce water use further. We strongly urge you to think about our Central Valley farmers when making critical decisions on drought mitigation.”

Pipe without waterThis legislative session, Senator Hurtado has introduced Senate Bill 559–the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021. Senate Bill 559 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would go to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence – the actual shrinking of land.

The Senator is also a co-author of the Water Innovation Act of 2021, which will create the Office of Water Innovation at the California Water Commission-furthering new technologies and other approaches within the water sector. The Senator has also introduced Senate Bill 464, which will expand the eligibility for state funded food benefits to undocumented immigrants, ensuring all residents can access food assistance. Senator Hurtado’s SB 108, which will declare it to be state policy that all people have access to sufficient, healthy food.

2021-07-19T12:47:36-07:00July 19th, 2021|

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against CA ALRB

California Fresh Fruit Association Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling


The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) is pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. The Court held that under California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA), access by union organizers to come onto the private property of farmers and landowners to promote the union violates the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Ruling Pushes Back on UFW

According to Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the opinion, “unlike a mere trespass, the regulation grants a formal entitlement to physically invade the growers’ land. Unlike a law enforcement search, no traditional background principle of property law requires the growers to admit union organizers onto their premises. And unlike standard health and safety inspections, the access regulation is not germane to any benefit provided to agricultural employers or any risk posed to the public.”


CFFA President Ian LeMay said, “Today’s ruling involving Cedar Point Nursery and CFFA member Fowler Packing protects the constitutional rights of agricultural employers and brings the ALRA access rule into alignment with the National Labor Relations Act. For 45 years, California’s farmers have seen their property rights ignored by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board by allowing organizers onto their property. No other industry in the United States, including California, has had to allow union organizers onto their property in a similar manner. We appreciate both Fowler Packing and Cedar Point’s efforts in leading the fight to restore the same property rights that are enjoyed by all other industries in the United States, to California farmers.”



2021-06-29T17:48:55-07:00June 29th, 2021|
Go to Top