[By Jesse Rojas]
OPINION – While much of the negative attention Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has received over the past few months has been in response to her bill, Assembly Bill 5, that reclassified independent contractors, Pick Justice Action is on a mission to ensure that Californians also remember that Gonzalez-Fletcher stood against providing farm workers additional protections and freedoms. That is why we are launching a sweepstakes that highlights just how bad Gonzalez-Fletcher’s anti-farm worker record is.
Understandably, the repercussions of Assembly Bill 5 have resulted in a lot of negative headlines recently. Just since the start of the year, we’ve seen the new gig economy bill “disrupting the music industry and threatening all performing arts,” and a California judge ruled that the law does not apply to truck drivers because it is preempted by federal law.
While we can expect that these stories will continue as the ramifications of Gonzalez-Fletcher’s legislation reverberates across all sectors of our economy, as workers deal with the uncertainty this bill has created, it is important for Californians to remember that this is not the only time Gonzalez-Fletcher has promoted (or opposed) bills and policies that hurt workers.
Gonzalez-Fletcher consistently voted to kill legislation designed to protect farm worker rights and respect their decisions, especially when they freely choose not to be represented by a union. This is all despite her claims that she is a steadfast supporter of workers.
In 2018, she opposed a bill that would give workers the opportunity to ratify a non-negotiated, government-written union contract before it can be imposed on them. She also opposed legislation to decertify a union if they abandoned farm workers for over 3 years.
Gonzalez-Fletcher even spoke out against these bills during a committee hearing, even though they were clearly needed.
In one Fresno case, the United Farm Workers (UFW) union disappeared from the farm for over two decades and then returned demanding 3% of the workers weekly wages. But Gonzalez-Fletcher remained in steadfast support of the UFW. When those same workers held a vote to decertify the union, the UFW wanted those workers’ votes thrown out. And Gonzalez-Fletcher supported the UFW’s efforts to silence the farm workers.
In a clear sign of hypocrisy, Gonzalez-Fletcher defended striking teachers, yet supported the UFW forcing a contract on thousands of Fresno farm workers would have stripped them of their protected right to continue their strikes against the UFW.
She also recently voted to strengthen the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) with AB 561 in 2015 and for AB 2751 in 2018, even though she knew that organization had spent millions of tax dollars to silence workers who voted to decertify the UFW.
It is critical that Californians know that despite a legislator on Twitter claiming to be a champion of workers, you must look at their actual votes to ensure they are being consistent in their support for workers- not just consistently on the side of labor union bosses.
That is why Pick Justice Action is continuing our information campaign by launching a quiz sweepstakes that highlight Gonzalez-Fletcher’s real record, not just the one she boasts about online. It is not only important to highlight the anti-worker record of a particular legislator, but we are using this sweepstakes to warn other elected officials in Sacramento that their votes and their actions won’t go unnoticed, particularly if they are voting in their own self-interest and against workers. Find out more at truthaboutlorena.com.