PCF lawsuit

VIDEO: Why are Californian Farmers’ Constitutional Rights Being Trampled?

When our Framers wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they wanted to protect private citizens and landowners from the type of tyrannical intrusions they experienced under British rule. But as liberals, progressives and socialists continually pervert our governments, state and federal, we are steadily losing the rights and privileges the Framers provided for us.

The battle to preserve those rights has risen to another level in a recently filed federal lawsuit challenging a California law. Pacific Legal Foundation filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cedar Point Nursery in Dorris and Fowler Packing Company in Fresno. (Cedar Point Nursery, et. al. v. Gould, et al.) They claim that California’s ‘trespass regulation’, California Code Regulations Title 8, § 20900(e) violates:

“Owners’ Fifth Amendment right against government-imposed takings, a right that includes the freedom to exclude trespassers; and their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable, government-sanctioned intrusions, searches and seizures.”

Cedar Point Nursery is a family-owned farm that produces strawberry plants for sale in California and throughout the nation. They employ around 100 year-round workers and another 400 or more seasonal workers during harvest time. None of the workers have ever considered joining a union, which is why one early morning, members of the United Farm Workers Union invaded the farm and tried to stage a strike in an effort to recruit the workers. They claimed that California’s trespass regulation gives them the right to legally trespass onto the privately owned farm for the purpose of trying to unionize the workers.

Union members claimed they were protesting the poor pay and working conditions at the nursery. Mike Fahner, Owner and CEO of the nursery responded by saying:

“We take pride in offering a clean, safe work environment, and clean, safe housing, at a pay grade that meets or exceeds the market. Our mindset has always been to treat all our employees with respect, and we get the same respect in return.  We promote from within and reward dedication and hard work.  As a consequence, employees stick with us.  The tenure on our core group of 50 to 60 people is no less than 10 years.”

Jose Mendoza, one of the employees who has worked at the nursery for 15 seasons told the media:

“The demonstration was ‘just a big joke. We haven’t had any problems out here. We’re just focused on trying to do our jobs.”

Fahner commented about the union invasion of his farm:

“When the UFW came on our property without warning or permission, you might as well call what happened an ambush. This is the first time we experienced anything like this and it makes me feel very vulnerable as a business person.  When people with their own agenda can brazenly enter your facilities and cause chaos and work stoppage, it ought to be illegal, it’s certainly unconstitutional.  If this were to happen in any other industry, or in any other state, the trespassers would be arrested.  But in California, agricultural property owners are being denied their constitutional rights to be protected from these kinds of invasions.”

Fowler Packing Co., handles 15 million boxes of citrus and 5 million boxes of grapes every year, making them one of the largest shippers of fresh produce in the Fresno area. Because Fowler barred union organizers from their property, the unions filed a complaint against them with California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). Even though the complaint was eventually withdrawn, it did manage to have a negative impact on the shipping company’s business.

Fowler contends that since none of their 2,000 plus employees live on the premises, that the union has ample access to them without having to trespass on their property. They provide their employees free lunches and free medical and yet the union continually tried to trespass onto their property via California’s trespass regulation.

The California trespass regulation has existed for years. In 1976 the regulation was challenged and the state’s liberal Supreme Court upheld the regulation that gives union organizers and activists the right to trespass onto private property. This code exists only in the agricultural business and only in the state of California. No such code exists anywhere else in the country.

Pacific Legal Foundation is taking this case to the federal level and if need be to the Supreme Court in hopes of proving that it is an unconstitutional code that violates the rights of private agricultural landowners and put a stop to unethical and illegal union activity.

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Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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