California farm workers visited a winery owned by the company Gov. Gavin Newsom founded as they continue to protest his veto of a bill that would have made it easier to vote in union elections.
The stop at PlumpJack Winery vineyard on Saturday followed a United Farm Workers march on Thursday to the pricey French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, where Newsom celebrated a lobbyist's birthday in November as he was asking other Californians to avoid indoor gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Elizabeth Strater, director of strategic campaigns for The United Farm Workers, said about two dozen marchers participated in the French Laundry demonstration.
Strater said organizers felt "a lot of anger and a huge sense of betrayal" after learning the governor vetoed the bill. During a contentious recall election that threatened to oust Newsom from office, the labor union backed the first-term governor.
Newsom founded PlumpJack, a wine and hospitality company, in 1992. He is not involved in its management. He placed his assets, including his stake in the company, in a blind trust after he won election as governor in 2018.
Newsom last week vetoed Assembly Bill 616, a measure that would have allowed farm workers to cast ballots by mail in union elections.
Newsom in a veto message wrote that the bill had "various inconsistencies and procedural issues related to the collection and review of ballot cards." He pledged to direct his administration's labor agency to continue working on the concept.
"Significant changes to California's well-defined agricultural labor laws must be carefully crafted to ensure that both agricultural workers' intent to be represented and the right to collectively bargain is protected, and the state can faithfully enforce those fundamental rights," he wrote.
Groups advocating for farmers and growers like the California Farm Bureau and the California Fresh Fruit Association applauded Newsom's decision to veto the bill.
"This bill would have stripped agricultural employees of the right to an impartial, secret ballot election," according to a press release from the California Fresh Fruit Association.
Before the bill's veto was announced, The United Farm Workers had just begun a 260-mile march to Sacramento from Tulare County to urge the Democratic governor to sign the legislation. After the group learned of the veto, they redirected their march to the Napa Valley restaurant.
Former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, on Thursday evening wrote on Twitter that restaurant owner Thomas Keller sent food to the farm workers protesting the veto.
"Pure class & the respect our Farmworkers deserve," she added.