PLF battles law that plows up ag workers' contract rights

February 28, 2003

Pacific Legal Foundation

This week PLF (Pacific Legal Foundation) filed suit against a new California law that permits the state to impose wage rates and other employment terms on workers and growers in the state's agricultural industry.

While billed as a "mediation" measure, in fact it is all about compulsion, argues PLF attorney Arthur B. Mark III, a member of the litigation team on the case.

"It authorizes the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board to impose terms and conditions of employment, regardless of the wishes of employers or employees."

Proponents point to the fact that, in many cases, workers and growers haven't voluntarily agreed on contract terms.

"But that's just another way of saying that one side or the other has exercised its constitutional right not to accept terms it couldn't live with," responds Mark.

"It is not an argument for government to impose conditions on both sides against their will."

PLF represents a coalition of agricultural groups, including the Western Growers Association and the 90,000-member California Farm Bureau Federation.

The suit is designed to uphold free bargaining and contract rights, says Mark, and to block a precedent of oppressive government intrusion that could be extended to other industries.

Read coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, at:


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Established in 1973, PLF provides a voice in the courts that speaks for less government and the preservation of free enterprise, private property rights and individual liberties.

PLF is the oldest, largest and -- in the words of the Washington Post -- "perhaps most influential" public interest law foundation of its kind. PLF is a tax-exempt, charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and relies entirely upon private donations for its support.

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