CalWatchdog Morning Read – December 15

by CalWatchdog Staff | December 15, 2016 9:59 am

Good morning. TGIT. Sorry we went dark yesterday — scheduling conflict. However, had we not been dark, we would have told you about how a federal appeals court last week had taken the highly unusual step of finding a U.S. constitutional cause of action in a challenge to a California state law, which is the latest wrinkle in a long-running and bitter dispute between a farm workers’ union and two large Central Valley fruit growers.

The California Legislature approved a law last year that was designed to protect the state’s businesses after two court decisions left them open to unforeseen liabilities regarding the minimum wage.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1513, which passed by solid majorities, was a sign of concern about broad economic harm if companies who had acted in good faith were forced to pay various fines for some commonly accepted payment practices.

This legislative overhaul of the state’s wage-and-hour law waived all penalties if, by this Thursday, the companies paid their piece-rate workers back wages for any unpaid rest periods.

The legislation would have been largely noncontroversial, except that it included carve-outs for two Fresno-based fruit growers – Fowler Packing Co. and Gerawan Farming.

In other words, the law apparently applied to every California business, except for these particular companies, both of which had run afoul of a union.

Check CalWatchdog[1] to find out what happens next. 

In other news: 


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