Today, Western Growers and the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) issued a joint press release announcing the organizations will be filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging provisions of AB 1513, a bill signed into last year law. That law provides a safe harbor from class action lawsuits to employers who make back payments to piece-rate employees for rest periods and other “nonproductive time.”
The “carve out” provisions in the bill effectively exclude Fowler Packing Company, Inc. and Gerawan Farming, Inc. from taking advantage of the safe harbor, unfairly subjecting those employers to predatory class action lawsuits. The United Farm Workers union (UFW) demanded the “carve-out” provisions be included in exchange for their agreement not to oppose the labor deal struck by the Brown Administration and the legislature. The UFW has been embroiled in a years’ long battle with Gerawan, particularly since its employees fought for and won the right to hold an election to oust the union. The UFW has also filed class action lawsuits against both Gerawan and Fowler over piece-rate pay, claims that would be knocked out of court if the employers were permitted to make back payments directly to the employees under the safe harbor provisions of AB 1513.
For more information, the Amicus filing, please contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.