Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Appeals Court Gives Win To Fresno Grower In Ag Labor Fight

May 14, 2015

A state appeals court has delivered a legal victory to a Fresno-based fruit grower in a decades old fight with the state’s ag labor relations board and the UFW. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, it’s likely not the final ruling.

The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Gerawan Farming, the nation’s largest peach grower by saying a 2002 state labor ag law is unconstitutional. In the case of an impasse in labor negotiations, the law forces both growers and their workers to abide by collective bargaining agreements created by a third party mediator. The justices found that mandatory mediation law is a violation of equal protection principles and an abuse of legislative authority. But the ruling didn’t stop there. It also found that even if the law itself was constitutional, the ALRB made errors in the way they applied it in Gerawan’s case. That could prove to be a key point in the future, as the case is likely headed to the State Supreme Court on appeal.