Editorial

In that fantasy land known as the California Legislature there exists a faction that believes there is only one way to do anything: theirs.

One product of that misconception is a bill that says the farmworkers union wins if employers make a mistake during a union election. Mind you, it doesn't take into account the motive or if it was an honest mistake. It doesn't even require the employer to rectify the mistake; it just says the union wins.

Why? Because it's the opinion of these lawmakers that the unions should always win, no matter what.

That logic -- or lack thereof -- should lead Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto this bill, just as he did a similar bill last year.

When legislators take the unserious and unsubstantiated stance that one side of an important issue like this is so morally superior to any other, the governor's job is to bring them back to reality.

We do not oppose labor unions; nor do we oppose unions' right to organize workers. What we oppose is the use of a "card-check" system skewed in favor of unions as a default. That is what this bill does.

The only way to make an election fair is by having secret-ballot elections. As citizens of a representative democracy, all Americans -- even California legislators -- should understand that. In fact, not too long ago, unions insisted on secret-ballot elections as a way to protect workers from coercion by employers.

The California Legislature during the past decade has earned a well-deserved national reputation for its inability to do anything substantive. Balance the budget? Nope. Put Californians back to work? Nope. Resolve issues surrounding water? Nope.

Yet assembly members and senators wade into union-organizing issues -- and any number of other agriculture-related issues -- with an ignorance, arrogance and enthusiasm that causes even a casual observer to write them off as crackpots.

It would be funny if not for the fact that agriculture is critically important to the state, the region and the nation. California farmers contribute $36 billion to the state's economy and are part of a Western network that supplies food to the nation and the Pacific Rim.

By fiddling around in labor issues as a sop to unions, these legislative "leaders" only show that they are willing to bow deeply to whoever is supporting their campaigns.

We hope Schwarzenegger will do the right thing and veto this bill. While he's at it, he should drive a stake through its heart so it will never again see the light of day.

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