Once battling over a law that facilitates farm worker unionization, they’re now fighting to keep it on the books
The 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act gave unions the ability to enter farms in the state—including ones that don’t want them there—to campaign among farm workers for a limited time each year. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court could squash that law, former California Gov. Jerry Brown and Driscoll’s chairman Miles Reiter took to the Washington Post with an op-ed defending it. Brown, who signed it into law, and Reiter were on different sides back in the day, but now say (a tad optimistically, we think): “The law has fulfilled its promise to bring about labor peace by giving voice to California’s farmworkers.” There certainly isn’t peace among the parties in the case. Farmworker advocates say language barriers, frequent moves, immigration status, and dependence on employers mean this labor force is easily mistreated and merits special access. Unions’ guaranteed access rankles growers, who charge that their private property rights are being trampled by labor activists (just speculating here, but growers might also be in their feelings about that secret ballot provision for union votes, too). We’ll see what the SCOTUS says when it rules this summer.