A California appeals court sided with one of the largest fruit farms in the nation, ruling that a law allowing the state to order unions and farming companies to reach binding contracts was unconstitutional.
Labor activists say the mandatory mediation and conciliation law is a key to helping farm workers improve working conditions.
However, the 5th District Court of Appeal said Thursday it does not clearly state the standards that the contracts are supposed to achieve.
The ruling came in a fight between Gerawan Farming and the United Farm Workers, the union launched by Cesar Chavez. The union won the right to represent Gerawan workers in 1992, but the two sides did not agree to a contract.
At the union’s request, the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board in 2013 ordered Gerawan and the UFW to enter into binding mediation. The two sides couldn’t come to an agreement so a deal was crafted by the mediator and adopted by the labor relations board, the appeals court said. Gerawan objected to the terms.
The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a conservative group seeking to end an investigation into possible illegal coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and independent groups.
The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said Wisconsin Club for Growth and its director, Eric O'Keefe, must resolve their claims in state courts.
No one has been charged as a result of the investigation which has sought documents and testimony about possible violation of state campaign finance laws.
The investigation is on hold while a separate legal challenge is pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The club and O'Keefe argued that the investigation was a violation of their First Amendment rights and an attempt to criminalize political speech.
A federal appeals court has ordered the immediate release of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who vandalized a uranium storage bunker, their attorney said Friday.
The order came after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last week overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.
On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met.
After the close of business on Friday, attorney Bill Quigley said the court had ordered the activists' immediate release. He said he was working to get them out of prison and was hopeful they could be released overnight or on the weekend.
"We would expect the Bureau of Prisons to follow the order of the court and release them as soon as possible," he said.
Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed are part of a loose network of activists opposed to the spread of nuclear weapons. To further their cause, in July 2012, they cut through several fences to reach the most secure area of the Y-12 complex. Before they were arrested, they spent two hours outside a bunker that stores much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium, hanging banners, praying and spray-painting slogans.
In the aftermath of the breach, federal officials implemented sweeping security changes, including a new defense security chief to oversee all of the National Nuclear Security Administration's sites.
Rice was originally sentenced to nearly three years and Walli and Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to just over five years. In overturning the sabotage conviction, the Appeals Court ruled that the trio's actions did not injure national security.
Pandora Media Inc. lost a court hearing Thursday in a dispute with music publishing rights group BMI over royalty rates, but the Internet streaming leader said it will appeal.
Pandora said it's confident it can win later since the appeals court — the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York — last week ruled in its favor in a case against the other major publishing group known as ASCAP.
Thursday's ruling would force Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of its revenue to songwriters and music publishers, up from 1.75 percent. Last week's appeals court ruling allowed Pandora's 1.85 percent rate to ASCAP to stay intact.
If the appeal fails, Pandora says its costs could rise by 0.8 percent of revenue, which would have amounted to about $1.7 million last quarter.
BMI called the ruling a victory for the more than 650,000 songwriters, composers and publishers it represents.