This summer, the NC Legislature passed the North Carolina Farm Act of 2017 (“Farm Act”). The law amended an existing statute by countering indirect unionization tactics and protecting farmers against having to collect union dues. This week, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (“FLOC”), a union, filed a lawsuit in federal court in North Carolina challenging the Farm Act.
FLOC’s lawsuit claims that the Farm Act “obstructs free expression and free association guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.” The lawsuit specifically focuses on the Farm Act’s protection of farmers against mandated collection of union dues owed by unionized farm workers. The lawsuit also seeks to restore the union’s tactic of using lawsuits to pressure a farmer into agreeing to unionization. Through the lawsuit, FLOC seeks to stop the enforcement of the Farm Act by asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.
Agribusiness in the Carolinas should continue monitoring legal developments arising out of the Farm Act.