335-mile farmworker march to Sacramento completed, but Gov. Newsom vetoes their cause

The governor said the bill would've created an untested process without provisions to protect election integrity.

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Saturday, August 27, 2022
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Hundreds of California farmworkers marched into Sacramento, just in time for Governor Newsom to say he's vetoing the bill they marched to support.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of farmworkers and their supporters marched into Sacramento Friday, just in time for the governor to announce he's vetoing the bill they marched to support.

By the time they strolled into Sacramento on the last leg of a 335-mile march, marchers knew they wouldn't get what they went there for.

They couldn't convince Governor Gavin Newsom to sign AB 2183, a bill designed to make it easier for workers to cast ballots remotely in union elections.

"I don't think the governor heard you, are there any union members in the crowd today?" California Federation of Labor executive secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez said to the crowd gathered outside the Capitol after finishing the march.

The governor sent out a veto statement Friday morning saying the bill would've created an untested process without provisions to protect election integrity.

Chambers of Commerce throughout the state opposed it, and Newsom had vetoed a similar bill last year.

And yet, the beat goes on.

"Our farmworkers deserve one thing: The right to unionize without intimidation and without deportation," Gonzalez said.

Their 24-day march started in Delano and at least 25 people hit the streets each day as they wound through the Central Valley on a journey mirroring that of Cesar Chavez and company in 1966.

But Chavez marched in the months of March and April.

This group made its way through Visalia, Parlier, Merced, and more during 100-degree August heat.

A few reached Sacramento with minor injuries, but they're not ready to stop.

"I remember one of my sisters one of my sisters, walking behind her and seeing the blisters on the back of her foot as she just continued to go and go and go," said Gonzalez. "Governor Newsom, we are not going to stop until you sign AB 2183."

"I marched 335 miles in these shoes and I'm going to need a new pair of shoes to be able to march again," said United Farm Workers president Teresa Romero.

Newsom said he's willing to work with UFW to craft a law that protects workers and election integrity at the same time. That could happen by next year.