DORRIS — Federal authorities have agreed to hear an appeal of a lawsuit by a Dorris strawberry farm challenging the ability of union representatives to enter their property without permission.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed to hear oral arguments in October from Cedar Point Nursery, of Dorris, Calif., in a case filed against members of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
Arguments will likely occur between Oct. 16 and 20 in San Francisco, though a specific date was not set as of press time.
The farm claims, by allowing union members uninhibited access to company property for the purpose of meeting and talking with employees, California is granting the union an easement without just compensation to the landowner.
The suit was filed Feb. 10, 2016, and was dismissed July 19, 2016, due to legal deficiencies in its arguments. Notice of appeal was submitted by Cedar Point July 27, 2016, and on Friday the court approved oral arguments.
Cedar Point has asked for Title 8 Chapter 20900, which grants unions such access, to be declared unconstitutional as well as damages for legal costs and other monetary awards deemed appropriate by the court.
The suit stemmed from an incident Oct. 29, 2015, when representatives of United Farm Workers (UFW) staged a demonstration at the property, protesting against unfair labor practices. Employees interviewed by Herald and News said they were unaware the union would be there that day and said claims of unfair working conditions were unfounded.
On Facebook, UFW said the demonstration was a workers’ strike and listed the event among their organization’s successes during an annual conference in May of 2016. UFW has not returned repeated requests for comment from H&N.