With Cedar Point decision, Supreme Court Conservative Supermajority Takes Aim at CA Workplace Regulations
The Supreme Court handed down a decision on June 23 in Cedar Point v. Hassid, a case concerning union access to California farms. Since the 1960s, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act has guaranteed that union organizers enjoy limited access to agricultural laborers at their places of work. In 1976, the Supreme Court dismissed business leaders’ challenges to the law as a violation of property rights.
The current Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority has a different view of the issue. On Wednesday, the Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the California law violates the Fifth Amendment, and that the law allows for public use of private property “without just compensation.” At oral arguments, Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested a fee of $50 per “taking” of the farms’ property.
Organized labor often depends on being able to access the workplace, particularly in the case of agricultural workers, many of whom work in risky conditions for low wages, are immigrants, and may not speak English. In this respect, the decision is disastrous for organized labor in the state. However, the decision could also affect other workplace regulations, including nondiscrimination regulations. As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote, “[The decision] undermines the broader legal framework that permits the government to impose all manner of regulations on private property, including workplace safety laws and nondiscrimination requirements. With Cedar Point, the Supreme Court has handed business owners a loaded gun to aim at every regulation they oppose.”
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.