January 2, 2020
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
CAWG WEBINARS
Employment Law Changes in 2020
(Answers + Update on AB 5)

WHEN : Tuesday, Jan. 7 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTERS: Brandon K. Kahoush, attorney at law with Fisher & Phillips, LLP (CAWG associate member), and Michael Miiller, CAWG director of government relations.
ABOUT: Learn more about employment law-related legislation that has recently taken effect or will take effect in January 2020, how it will impact your operation and how to prepare for compliance.

Recent Webinars
Recordings are available online for the following:

  • Dec. 4 / Crop Insurance 101: Federal crop insurance program
  • Dec. 11 / Crop Insurance 102: Fires, floods and natural disasters
  • Dec. 18 / Whole-farm revenue protection

TOP NEWS ITEMS
Industry Input Needed for USDA Grant on Smoke Impacts on Grapes and Wine
University researchers are collaborating to gather industry input to help craft a research grant addressing smoke impacts on grapes and wine. Drs. Anita Oberholster (UC Davis), Elizabeth Tomasino (Oregon State University) and Tom Collins (Washington State University) will conduct a meeting in Sacramento – the day before Unified starts – to get feedback on wildfire smoke-related issues. Attendees can include viticulturists, winemakers, growers, owners, sales/marketing, distribution and other stakeholders.
 
WHEN: Feb. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (lunch provided)
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, 1209 L Street, Sacramento
REGISTER HERE : Reserve your spot, space is limited!
 
In-person attendance (free) is strongly encouraged. If this is not possible, Zoom video conferencing will be available. All attendees must register to participate, including through Zoom. No walk-ins allowed.
 
Tax Relief for Wineries: President Signs Tax Extender Package
President Trump on Dec. 20 signed into law a tax extender package that includes a one-year extension of the tax relief in the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA ) through Dec. 31, 2020. The CBMTRA provides federal excise tax benefits for all wineries. “The craft beverage bill has been an incredible boost for our industry and this extension allows us to continue investing in our wineries by buying new equipment, remodeling tasting rooms, hiring new employees and more,” said Wine Institute Chair Hank Wetzel of Alexander Valley Vineyards. “All of this benefits local communities in the form of jobs, tax revenue and support for the hospitality industry.”

> TTB WEBSITE (updated info on CBMTRA + tax and fee rates page)

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Government Relations Report
MANDATORY ARBITRATION BAN BLOCKED IN COURT
A law to ban mandatory arbitration in employment contracts that was to take effect this week won’t kick off with the new year after all. This is because U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller on Dec. 30 ruled to temporarily block  AB 51  (Gonzalez, D-San Diego).
 
Past legislative efforts to ban mandatory arbitration were vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown because federal law does not allow states to prohibit arbitration. Many expect the court to reach a similar conclusion relative to AB 51.  
 
The California Chamber of Commerce, which is leading the efforts to  halt the law , argues “In addition to being protected under federal law, arbitration is effective and has been repeatedly shown to be fair to both sides and preferable to court proceedings. Businesses routinely enter into arbitration agreements with workers, either as a condition of employment or on an opt-out basis, so that both parties can make use of alternative dispute resolution procedures.”
 
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR BAN ALSO HEADED TO COURT
Many independent contractor contracts have already been terminated in anticipation of  AB 5  (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) taking effect. This is the state’s landmark labor law that requires businesses to treat independent contractors as employees. In the meantime, Uber and Postmates have  sued to block enforcement  of AB 5 and the trucking industry is also legally challenging the law. 
 
Additionally, last week several industry groups representing freelance journalists  filed a lawsuit seeking to block AB 5 . They argue that AB 5 infringes upon their constitutional right to free speech, as it restricts them from producing more than 35 pieces of content for a single publication in a given year without being considered an employee.

AB 5 includes several exemptions or carve outs for various industries and worker classifications. Plaintiffs argue that the bill was written by labor unions and that the carve outs are arbitrary. Uber is also preparing an expensive ballot initiative to battle the legislation.
 
The bill’s author claims that workers are being exploited, and she  promised on Twitter  to continue her battle against such employment practices.


-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
CAWGF 2020 Scholarship Applications Due March 6
Please share with your employees! Thousands of dollars in college scholarship funds are available to students whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. The four-year scholarships are $8,000 each for students attending a University of California or California State University campus. The two-year scholarships are $2,000 each for students attending a California community college. The Robert Miller Scholarship for Viticulture and Enology is awarded to a Central Coast student who is enrolled or will enroll at Allan Hancock College or Cal Poly SLO. The application deadline is March 6, 2020.


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WATER & WEATHER
First Snow Survey of 2020: Lots of Snow!
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted its first manual snow survey in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The survey recorded 33.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 11 inches, which is 97 percent of the January average at this site. SWE is the most important factor they look at, as it predicts spring runoff. In comparison, January 2019 stats were lower – snow depth of 25.5 inches and SWE of 9 inches – but then February brought major storms. Statewide, the current Sierra snowpack is 90 percent of average. DWR officials encouraged residents to continue water conservation and be prepared for major winter weather events. Wildfire-impacted land will be especially vulnerable.

 

UNIFIED WINE & GRAPE SYMPOSIUM
WE ARE ONE MONTH AWAY!
Promote Your Company or Products to Nearly 14,000 Attendees
We have sponsorship and advertising opportunities for all budgets -- several are still available! Create an immediate impact while seamlessly integrating your company’s brand into the Unified experience. Custom sponsorships are also available.

For details about these or other opportunities, contact Jenny Devine at  jenny@cawg.org  or  (916) 379-8995 .


CAWG / INDUSTRY MEETINGS
CAWG + LDGGA Breakfast Meeting
Winegrape Contracts: Language and Enforcement
 
WHEN: Jan. 21 / 8:30 a.m. (registration, pastries, coffee), 9-11 a.m. (meeting)
WHERE: Burgundy Hall, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds
PRESENTED BY: Dale Stern (Downey Brand) and CDFA Market Enforcement Branch 


Sonoma Grower Meeting: Tax Laws

HOSTS: CAWG, Sonoma County Winegrowers and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau
WHEN: Jan. 24
WHERE: Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa
PRESENTED BY: Robert Murphy and Henrietta Bodi, Frank Rimerman + Co LLP
TOPICS: Murphy and Bodi will discuss important tax factors that directly impact ag businesses and families, as well as tax-related deductions for those impacted by recent wildfires. Several other topics will be discussed, and CAWG will also give a state and federal update.
> REGISTER  
EDUCATION
Ag Laws and Regulations for Growers and Farm Labor Contractors
From January through June, AgSafe is offering classes covering a dozen topics related to ag laws and regulations. In-person classes (one day) will be held in Paso Robles, Modesto, Indio, Santa Paula and Salinas. Online classes will be conducted in three-hour segments over three days. Costs vary for members and non-members. The course meets the California DLSE nine hours of continuing education required for FLC licensing.
 

INDUSTRY EVENTS
University of California Grape Day
WHEN: Jan. 21 / 9 a.m. to approx. 4 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, Davis

Following the session, there will be a comparative tasting of no-touch cabernet sauvignon vs. modified VSP hand-farmed cabernet sauvignon.

68th Annual Lodi Grape Day
WHEN: Feb. 25
WHERE: 125 S. Hutchins Street, Lodi
TOPICS: Registration details forthcoming.