A California grower has filed a lawsuit striking at the heart of farmworker union organizing – one that could have catastrophic effects for workers trying to form unions in other sectors. Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego, and the California Catholic Conference, are standing up to say no. The case will likely come before the Supreme Court any day now.
Cedar Point Nursery argues that when union organizers visit with workers on company property during NON-WORK TIME the union is “taking” the owners’ property in the meaning of the Constitution. Since many farmworkers live in company-provided housing, such a decision would make organizing farmworkers virtually impossible.
Bishop McElroy, quoted in the National Catholic Reporter, responded:
“This would be another step in constricting the ability of workers to form associations, to unionize and to effectively bargain. Those rights are being chipped away little by little, and that’s very destructive to our society.”
The California Catholic Conference has joined with California Rural Legal Assistance and Farmworker Justice to file an amicus brief with the court vindicating the workers’ cause.