The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stinging defeat for unions on Wednesday in a decision that struck down in part a California law allowing unions access to private property of companies they wanted to unionize.
The court ruled 6 to 3 to knock down the union law in favor of the business owners’ private property rights.
“The upshot of this line of precedent is that government-authorized invasions of property — whether by plane, boat, cable, or beachcomber — are physical takings requiring just compensation,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision.
The “right of access” law passed in California allowed farmworker unions to gain access to the private property of farm owners in order to help unionize their workers.
The three liberal justices argued in their dissent that the law was a regulation did not constitute taking away anyone’s private property.
Union supporters were outraged at the decision.
“Today the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned nearly a half-century of progress for California’s farm workers, who have struggled to exercise their right to bargain for decent wages and to protect their health and safety,” said Karla Walter, the director of employment policy for the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
“Reaching farm workers — the overwhelming majority of whom are Latinx and migrant workers — where they work is critical to protecting their rights and interests,” she added.
In a video interview with John Stossel, one of the litigants in the original case argued that his migrant workers make almost double the minimum wage in California and that unions had technological access to any of the workers.
“Of the 450 people that are in that facility at the time, they had maybe 20 to 25 people join them,” said Mike Faher, owner of Cedar Point Nursery in Indico, California. He also argued that unions had access to his farm workers before and after work.
California officials have defended the law as a temporary regulation of the business owner’s property and compared it to allowing access to meat inspectors or health and safety inspectors.
Here’s a video explaining the latest union tactic:
Unions Invade Private Property