September 13, 2017

Ninth Circuit schedules hearing in union access case

By Wen Fa Attorney

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently announced that it will hear oral argument in the Cedar Point Nursery v. Gould on November 17 in San Francisco. In that case, PLF represents California citrus growers in their constitutional challenge to a law that forces them to give up their property for the benefit of union organizers.

Under the Fifth Amendment, the government must compensate property owners when it takes their property — either for itself or a third party. The lower court, however, rejected the growers’ constitutional challenge because union organizers are “only” stationed on the growers’ property for three hour per day.

Yet if the Takings Clause requires the government to compensate you when it takes your property for good, it should require the government to compensate you when it takes your property intermittently. Just imagine the implications if that were not the case. Is your house close to the beach? Let someone else live in it during the summer months. Do you own a pair of nice sunglasses? Let someone else wear them during the day. Do you have a big TV? Let someone else have it during the Super Bowl.

As always, PLF is fighting for robust protections for property rights — and one the Founders envisioned when they enacted the Fifth Amendment.

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Cedar Point Nursery v. Gould

PLF represents California farming businesses that employ around 3,000 Californians and produce millions of dollars for California’s economy in the form of oranges, table grapes, and strawberry plants. A state Agricultural Labor Relations Board regulation – the Union Access Rule – allows union organizers to go on private land to solicit support for unionization. In 2015, union organizers entered and walked across our clients’ property during harvest time, promoting the union with bullhorns. Some workers, scared and intimidated, left the property. PLF sued, arguing that this disruptive regulation effectively takes the farmers’ property in violation of the Fifth Amendment and also violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable seizures.

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