The impact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would have on the agricultural industry was up for discussion at a recent press conference on Capitol Hill. Joining the discussion were Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, and Western Growers’ past chairman Steve Patricio. Nassif and Patricio talked about the formation of the Agriculture for a Democratic Workplace (ADW) coalition. ADW’s mission, they said, is to ensure legislators and the media know agricultural employers, associations, and organizations are fighting to protect the right to a federally supervised secret ballot when workers are deciding whether or not to join a union and the opportunity to vote to accept or reject a contract.
“Protection of the secret ballot is fundamental to our cause, and we will fight to ensure the basic American right of casting a ballot in private is defended,” said Nassif. “The mandatory arbitration provisions of the bill threaten the economic growth and job creation in agriculture and are also unacceptable. While field workers would not be subject to EFCA, we must remember that agricultural employment reaches far beyond the farm gate. Many of the workers in the agricultural industry would be subject to the provisions of this legislation. EFCA could adversely impact every segment of the agricultural supply chain, putting further pressure on the ability of farms to continue to operate in the U.S.”