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July 12, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Could Limit Labor Union Rights

As the law firm Venable reported, on June 23, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling that found a California regulation allowing union organizers the right to enter an employer’s private property to recruit and organize workers violated the employer’s federal constitutional rights.

The employer that filed the lawsuit challenging the regulation is from the agriculture sector, but the ruling has implications for employers in all industries and in every region of the United States. As Venable said, “This decision is consistent with a string of other recent Supreme Court decisions that have narrowed labor unions’ power to recruit and fund their memberships” and “has national implications” since it is rooted in the United States Constitution.

Specifically, the Court found that the California regulation constituted a physical taking without just compensation, an action that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.

Venable noted, “The decision carves out some exceptions to this rule based on established common law but makes clear that state legislators will face an uphill battle when attempting to broaden union rights to organize on an employer’s private property.” Indeed, Venable predicted that the decision could be felt in all U.S. states since it raises “questions about the scope of the established federal right of union members to access certain limited areas of an employer’s premises for organizing activities.”

Read Venable’s full summary of this case here.