Jerry Brown had his chance at political revenge last night
but to his credit he sidestepped that opportunity. On the day the Democrats
passed an alternative budget to Brown’s original plan with no cooperation from
Republicans, Brown vetoed the controversial union supported ‘card-check’ bill
that had reached his desk on partisan votes, Democrats for, Republicans

Rumors flew around the capitol that Brown was using the
card-check bill as a bargaining chip in his budget negotiations. If some farm
area Republican legislators would vote to put tax extensions on the ballot,
Brown would veto the bill, the rumors implied. No Republican openly supported
the tax extensions and the tax extensions were not part of the final budget.
Yet, Brown vetoed the card-check bill, anyway.

So much for capitol rumors.

It was a bold decision for Brown in the face of heavy
pressure from labor allies, Democratic legislators, and his long time
relationship with the United Farm Workers. The card-check measure would have
allowed farm workers to unionize using an open petition method instead of
relying on a secret ballot. The California Chamber of Commerce called it a job
killer bill because it would increase agricultural costs and leave employees
"susceptible to coercion and manipulation by labor organizations."

Brown’s veto has national implications. Efforts to push a
card-check bill covering all workers stalled in Congress. The new strategy was
to see card-check passed in individual states. Making it the law in a trend
setting, big state like California would be a major step in implementing the
strategy and reviving movement for card-check on the national level. Brown’s
veto is a setback for that approach.

For California, the veto burnishes Brown’s credentials as an
unpredictable administrator, and despite the disappointment and frustration he
must have felt over the final budget package, establishes him as someone who
can withstand political pressure and compartmentalize issues. Those attributes
will work to his benefit as he continues his efforts to restructure California governance.