The Supreme Court sided with farm owners in a decision Wednesday that could limit the ability of union organizers in California to recruit farm workers.
In a 6-3 decision for Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, the Supreme Court found that a 1975 California labor regulation infringed on the Fifth Amendment property rights of farm owners.
The regulation allows a labor organization to enter an agricultural employer’s property for the purpose of union organizing, for a total of four months each year. Organizers are permitted to be on the property for one hour before the start of work, one hour during a lunch break, and one hour after work.
In 2015, organizers with United Farm Workers entered the property of two California growers, Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company. The pair then filed suit, seeking an injunction against the state’s labor regulation to prevent the union from entering their property again.
A California District Court had dismissed the case and denied the injunction. That ruling was upheld in a later appeal, before being sent before the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion of the court, which found the California labor regulation unconstitutional because it “grants labor organizations a right to invade the growers’ property.”
United Farm Workers tweeted that the ruling “makes a racist and broken farm labor system even more unequal. Farm workers are the hardest working people in America. This decision denies them the right to use their lunch breaks to freely discuss whether they want to have a union. The Supreme Court has failed to balance a farmer’s property rights with a farm worker’s human rights.”
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.