One of the core functions of Family Winemakers, like any trade association, is encouraging legislative and regulatory action by its members. This enables the organization to broaden its reach through advocacy at the grassroots level.
When the Legislature reconvened on August 4 one of the most pressing issues it faced is related to California's drought. Whether to regulate groundwater as part of an overall approach to solving water availability and managing its use could be decided. California is one of the few states that does not have a state groundwater regulatory program. Groundwater is considered an integral part of property rights. Naturally, groundwater supplements surface water, or as we've seen with the drought more often then not supplants non-existant surface water. AB 1739 (Dickenson), SB 1168 (Pavley) and SB 1319 (Hill) were subject to intense lobbying up to the end of the session on August 30. All three bills are awaiting action by Governor Brown before September 30.
As a member of Family Winemakers you can contact your legislator or the Governor to express your views.
Our current grassroots alert concerns AB 1897 (Hernandez), which would make wineries, and other businesses, liable for the unpaid wages and workers compensation of labor contractors. See more information in the next column.
Take action now by contacting Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. with the link at the right. Send an email asking for a veto of AB 1897, which makes your winery liable for farm labor contractor wages and insurance.
Family Winemakers on behalf of its member wineries is seeking a veto of union-sponsored legislation that would burden wineries with the liability for unpaid wages and lack of workers compensation insurance by their farm labor contractors. This liability can be triggered by a private right of action on behalf of a worker. Use the sample letter below, with any edits to personalize your circumstances, and paste it into the email comment form on the Governor's website.
[Your winery name] urges you to VETO AB 1897. This bill would impose joint liability for violations of the Labor Code upon employers who use contracted labor. Labor unions want to discourage employers from using contracted employees instead of full-time staff. AB 1897 furthers that goal through a draconian approach by making virtually all employers subject to its joint liability provisions on unpaid wages and unbound workers compensation insurance. The wine industry's use of contracted labor is almost entirely related to the seasonal nature of wine production. It is common for my winery to use a contracted labor force to care for our vineyards , as well as for harvesting our grapes or bottling our wine. Much of this labor force is shared by other wineries in our area, and it is simply impractical to use a means other than contracting for the seasonal needs of our industry. AB 1897 is unworkable and should be vetoed.