May 26, 2016

Western Growers Joins Amicus Brief in Challenge to MMC before State Supreme Court

Western Growers, along with five other organizations representing agriculture and the general business community, has filed an amicus brief supporting Gerawan Farming Company’s challenge of California’s “mandatory mediation and conciliation process.”

Gerawan successfully challenged the MMC provision of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act in the California court of appeal on constitutional grounds. That ruling is now on appeal to the California Supreme Court.

Unique in the nation, the MMC provision compels agricultural employers and their employees into collective bargaining agreements, the terms of which are dictated by a “mediator.”

MMC, which is referred to throughout the brief as the “Compulsion Regime,” is unconstitutional for two reasons, according to the brief:

First, it imposes “mini-labor codes” to govern the relations of individual employers and their employees’ unions. It doesn’t provide any safeguard to ensure that similarly situated employers or unions will be treated similarly. It allows mediators to wield legislative authority irrationally and arbitrarily. It therefore denies affected parties the equal protection of the laws, in violation of the U.S. and California Constitutions.

Second, the compulsion regime delegates substantial legislative authority to private-party mediators. It doesn’t provide these mediators with any goal or purpose that they must achieve in drafting collective bargaining agreements and fails to establish any adequate safeguards against the abusive exercise of the power delegated. The compulsion regime therefore violates the non-delegation doctrine—delegating legislative powers to an executive agency—and the separation of powers.

The amicus brief was drafted by Damien Schiff at Pacific Legal Foundation. For more information, contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.