March 1, 2021

Agriculture and Business Coalition Disappointed in Cal/OSHA Emergency Standards Preliminary Injunction Ruling

IRVINE, Calif. (February 26, 2021) – In response to the decision of the Superior Court to deny motions for preliminary injunctions restraining the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board from enforcing the Emergency Temporary Standards, a coalition of agricultural and business groups issued the following statement:

“The health and safety of farm and ranch employees is the top priority for agricultural employers. Throughout California, farmers and ranchers have adapted their operations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition, agricultural organizations have advocated with local, state and federal elected officials and agencies to prioritize access to vaccines for farm and ranch employees; individual farms and agricultural businesses have sponsored vaccination clinics, with more already scheduled. 

“The court’s decision only complicates the ongoing work by family farms and other essential businesses to maintain safe, plentiful food supplies in the wake of COVID-19. The Cal/OSHA Board failed to justify the need for emergency intervention, despite their own staff report that the emergency standards were not necessary to protect employee health.

“With this decision, the court failed to properly exercise its oversight on this critically important issue, and we are now exploring our legal options to ensure the safe and timely delivery of food and essential services to all Californians. In the meantime, we will work with Cal/OSHA to assure the agency better understands the essential businesses and agricultural operations it regulates, and to inject practicality into the Emergency Temporary Standards as it develops forthcoming policies and guidance.”

The six plaintiff organizations and media contacts are listed below:

About California Association of Winegrape Growers:
The California Association of Winegrape Growers protects and promotes the interests of California winegrape growers by providing members a unified voice, effective advocacy and strong leadership. CAWG promotes the winegrowing industry’s long-term success by advancing the adoption of sound public policies, and fostering awareness and understanding of winegrape growers’ contributions to the economy, environment and California communities.

About California Business Roundtable:
The California Business Roundtable is a non-partisan organization comprised of the senior executive leadership of the major employers throughout the state – with a combined workforce of more than half a million employees.  For more than thirty-five years the Roundtable has identified the issues critical to a healthy business climate and provided the leadership needed to strengthen California’s economy and create jobs.

About California Farm Bureau Federation:
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 32,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

About Grower-Shipper Association of Central California:
Grower-Shipper Association of Central California is a regional trade association, offering advocacy, programs and services to over 300 members. Founded in 1930, today the organization’s membership consists primarily of growers, shippers, harvesters and processors of vegetables and fruits produced in the Central Coast region of California, encompassing Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara Counties; united around a core mission of advancing solutions benefitting families, food and farming.

About Ventura County Agricultural Association:
Ventura County Agricultural Association is a trade association dedicated to supporting agriculture businesses in the California counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara. The association provides a wide variety of services to its members, but most significantly in labor relations and employee safety training programs.

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.