Democrats Pass Union-Backed Card Check Legislation

Owen Poindexter | April 01, 2011

April 4, 2011 - The California Senate passed "card check" legislation (SB 104) on Thursday, March 31st, which would allow farm laborers to select their union by signing petition cards, in addition to the secret ballot method already in place, according to the Sacramento Bee. The measure passed (24-14) on a straight party line vote, with Democrats in favor, Republicans opposed, and no Senators breaking ranks.

The bill was sponsored by the United Farm Workers union, and received additional support from a host of other powerful unions, including the AFSCME, the California Labor Federation, and the California Federation of Teachers.

A analysis of campaign finance, voting, and industry support and opposition data from January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010 found:

  • Interest groups that supported this bill (including United Farm Workers, California Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, California Labor Federation) gave $202,333, on average, to each Senator voting YES, 25 times more than to each Senator voting NO, who received $8,191, on average.
  • Interest groups that opposed this bill (including Chambers of Commerce, Restaurants, Retail, Pro-business) gave $57,406, on average, to each Senator voting NO, 17% more than to each Senator voting YES, who received $49,205, on average.

Methodology: Includes reported contributions to campaigns of Senators in office on day of vote, from interest groups invested in the vote according to, January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010. Campaign contribution data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics.