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Cedar Point Nursery Decision by SCOTUS Restricts Union Activities

06/30/2021

The California Agriculture Labor Relations Board allows union representatives to access farming operations for the purposes of organizing workers.  Current regulations allow for up to one hour before and after work and one hour during a lunch break for 120 days per year.  In October 2015, members of the United Farm Workers entered the property owned by Cedar Point Nursery disturbing operations and precipitating a protest and walk-off.  Cedar Point filed suit against the United Farm Workers for access without required notice.  United Farm Workers counterclaimed that Cedar Point committed an unfair labor practice. United Farm Workers organizers attempted to enter the property of Fowler Packing Company in July 2015, an action that was resisted by the company resulting in an unfair labor practice charge. 

 

Lawsuits were accordingly filed by Cedar Point and Fowler against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.  The Court refused declaratory and injunctive relief and the action against the Board was dismissed.  The growers then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that affirmed the lower court ruling that access did not represent depriving the owners of the beneficial use of their property. 

 

The growers petitioned SCOTUS for certiorari that was granted, and the Court heard oral arguments and then deliberated issuing an opinion in mid-June.  Six of the nine justices ruled that the Takings Clause was relevant to the intrusion by the United Farm Workers and that governmental agencies cannot impose regulations that restrict an owner's ability to use his own property.  Accordingly, the California law prohibiting employers from interfering with the activities of labor unions on their premises is contrary to the Takings Clause of the Constitution.