High court backs businesses challenging California labor law
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with California agriculture businesses in their challenge to a state regulation that gives unions access to farm property in order to organize workers. As a result of the ruling, California will have to modify or abandon the regulation put in place in 1975 after the efforts of labor leader Cesar Chavez.
The justices ruled 6-3 along ideological lines for the agriculture businesses. It's another potential setback for unions as a result of a high court decision.
"The access regulation amounts to simple appropriation of private property," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the conservative members of the court.
At issue was a regulation that granted unions access to farms and other agriculture businesses for up to three hours per day, 120 days per year, in order to organize workers. Businesses are supposed to be notified before organizers arrive, and organizers are supposed to come during nonwork times such as lunch and before and after work.
The businesses that brought the case to the court argued that California’s regulation was unconstitutional, but was also outdated and unnecessary given that unions can now reach workers many ways, including via smartphone and radio.
The access regulation is unique to California. But unions and others had argued that ruling for the businesses could threaten regulations that allow government to access private property to conduct workplace health and safety inspections, among other things.
The ruling is the latest hit to unions by the court under Roberts. In 2018, the court’s conservative majority overturned a 41-year-old pro-union decision that had allowed states to require that public employees pay some fees to unions that represent them, even if the workers choose not to...