Amicus brief filed in arbitration challenge
Last week, PLF filed an amicus brief on behalf of a broad coalition of agriculture and property rights groups to challenge California’s so-called Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Process. The general rule for labor arbitration between private employers and employees is that the state can force you to negotiate, but it can’t force you to accept any particular terms. In California, however, agricultural employers can be compelled, at the behest of a disgruntled union, to submit to a private mediator who in turn has the power to impose a collective bargaining “agreement” on the employer. A California court of appeal ruled last year that this system is unconstitutional because it treats similarly situated employers differently, and because it delegates too much legislative power to private-party mediators. The California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Our amicus brief address both constitutional issues, and makes the larger policy point that the Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation process thwarts basic democratic principles of public deliberation and accountability. (For more information, check out this blog post by Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, one of the entities that joined our amicus brief).
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Gerawan Farming v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board
Gerawan Farming is a family-owned company that grows grapes and stone fruit in the San Joaquin Valley. Unique in the nation, a California statute compels agricultural employers and their employees’ unions to assent to collective bargaining agreements. Rather than being negotiated at arm’s length, these agreements’ terms are dictated to the parties by a “mediator” who has nearly unlimited discretion to compel the parties’ assent to whatever terms the mediator wishes. A California appellate court struck down this scheme that imposed an unwanted “agreement” on Gerawan, but the California Supreme Court granted review. Representing an array of agricultural and constitutional liberty groups, PLF filed an amicus brief arguing that this compulsory regime is unconstitutional.Read more
What to read next
Next week, the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust law will hold a hearing entitled “Rulemakers Must Follow the Rules, Too: Oversight of Agency Compliance with the Congressional Review Act.” PLF’s Todd Gaziano has been invited to testify at the hearing.
Shed a (crocodile) tear for Luke Skywalker today, as Mark Hamill’s much ballyhooed Autograph Law is set to be undone and reformed by the same California officials who made the mistake to pass it in the first place. AB 228 has arrived at the Governor’s desk, and in all likelihood will be signed into law any day.