ACLU Attacks Farm Owners, Sues Legislature for Migrant Farmworkers’ Union Rights

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s decades long history as a Right to Work state began at a time when the free world was wary, and rightly so, of collectivist movements that contradicted the Individualism that underpins America. Workers’ rights and unionism were a large part of such threats as they ultimately strip the private property rights from the owners of capital.

Luckily the State protected this facet of individual rights explicitly in law in 1947. Under Right to Work a North Carolina employee cannot be required to join a union as a condition of employment. An employer who has a factory in North Carolina might recognize a union, and employees may choose to join the union, but they cannot be required to do so.

The 2017 General Assembly passed legislation that essentially enforced this legal principle between farmers and migrant farm labor by not requiring the farmers to automatically collect dues on behalf of the union. What right does a union have to force a business owner to collect payments for them?

Now the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing them for it.

“Now North Carolina has mounted a direct assault on the state’s only farmworkers union, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), which works tirelessly to protect those workers. A new state law, sponsored and supported by legislators who have a financial interest in suppressing farmworker organizing, would make it all but impossible for the union to operate effectively in the state. Together with a coalition of civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the North Carolina Justice Center, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the law violates farmworkers’ constitutional and civil rights. We have also asked the court for a preliminary injunction, which would suspend the law’s operation during the course of the litigation.”

The left leaning rights organization is claiming the law violates free assembly and equal protection while going full tilt workers’ rights and even suggesting the law is (shocker) racist. The ACLU’s Brian Hauss argues that the farmworker desperately needs and wants his employer to deduct money from his paycheck to send to the union.

“First, the law invalidates contracts guaranteeing that employers will honor their employees’ requests to deduct union dues from their paychecks, otherwise known as union dues checkoffs. Farmworkers, many of whom lack access to basic banking services, rely on these checkoffs to make timely and regular contributions to the union. Without checkoffs, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the union to collect the money it needs to operate.”

We’re supposed to believe that overturning this law and enforcing automatic union due deductions is for the individual workers, and not the union itself? Their advocate in court admits that with out forcing farm or factory owners to provide checkoffs the unions would not be able to operate.

How can you claim to be representing workers when those workers, of their own will, wouldn’t support you enough to finance ‘operating’ expenses? The suit to overturn the 2017 legislation is a naked attempt to embed union powers in the law that enable it to guarantee finances. Those powers would come at the expense of the business owners whom would be forced to finance union attacks on his or her own property.

The ACLU lawyers also point out that the law was sponsored by a lawmaker Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson), who is a farmer, and supported by on the floor by another farming Republican lawmaker, as if their relevant interests disqualify them from weighing in objectively.

To the contrary, farming legislators like Jackson are likely the best equipped to address and combat union powers that encroach on the rights of private farm owners.

And I’m glad they did. North Carolina should remain a Right to Work state where employers are not forced to finance their own leeching unions, no matter if the workers are not citizens.

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