California high court to decide legality of farm worker law

By , on November 27, 2017


The California Supreme Court is expected to decide Monday whether a law allowing the state to order unions and farming companies to reach binding contracts is unconstitutional. (Photo by Andrew Dupont/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
The California Supreme Court is expected to decide Monday whether a law allowing the state to order unions and farming companies to reach binding contracts is unconstitutional. (Photo by Andrew Dupont/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

SAN FRANCISCO — An upcoming ruling by California’s highest court in a legal battle between the union launched by labour leader Cesar Chavez and one of the nation’s largest fruit farms could dramatically reduce the power of organized farm labour in the state.

The California Supreme Court is expected to decide Monday whether a law allowing the state to order unions and farming companies to reach binding contracts is unconstitutional.

Labour activists say the mandatory mediation and conciliation law is key to helping farm workers improve labour conditions.

Opponents say it’s government overreach that deprives agricultural employers and workers of a say over wages and other terms of employment.

The state Supreme Court’s ruling will come in a lawsuit pitting Gerawan Farming, one of the nation’s largest fruit farms, against the United Farm Workers of America.