United Farm Workers Nat. Union v. Babbitt

Decision Date20 April 1978
Docket NumberCiv. No. 72-445 PHX-CAM.
Citation449 F. Supp. 449
PartiesUNITED FARM WORKERS NATIONAL UNION on behalf of itself and its members, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Bruce BABBITT, Governor of the State of Arizona, et al., Defendants, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, an Arizona Corporation, et al., Intervenors.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Arizona

Michael W. L. McCrory, Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiffs.

James Rutkowski, ACLU Foundation, Los Angeles, Cal., for Farm Workers.

John A. La Sota Jr., Atty. Gen. of Ariz., Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, Phoenix, Ariz., for intervenors-applicants.

William A. Gibney, Gen. Counsel, Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., Phoenix, Ariz., for defendants.

Before KILKENNY, Circuit Judge, and CRAIG and MUECKE, District Judges.


MUECKE, District Judge:


Plaintiffs filed this action for declaratory and injunctive relief together with an application for a three-judge court under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1343, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and 28 U.S.C. § 2201, et seq., seeking to have Arizona's Agricultural Employment Relations Act (AERA), A.R.S. §§ 23-1381, et seq., declared unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs in this action are the United Farm Workers National Union (U.F.W.), on behalf of itself and its members; Gustavo Gutierrez, an agent of the U.F.W. in the State of Arizona; Ruben Alaniz and Matilda Varela, farm workers, on behalf of themselves and all other farm workers; and Wendy Rose, an individual supporter of the U.F.W., on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated U.F.W. supporters.

Defendants are Bruce Babbitt, Governor of the State of Arizona; Jack La Sota, Acting Attorney General; Bert Fleming, Treasurer; Raymond Long, Finance Commissioner; Gene Blake, William S. Borce, Jack Montgomery, Keith Walton, Jack McManus, Milton G. Sanders, individually and as members of the Arizona Agricultural Relations Board; and Theresa Bond, in her capacity as Executive Secretary of the Board.

The Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, the Arizona Grape Growers Association, the Vegetable Growers Association, all being Arizona corporations; and the Yuma Citrus Shipper's Association, an unincorporated association, all sought and were granted intervention in the suit on November 5, 1973.

Plaintiffs ask this Court to find that the Agricultural Employment Relations Act (AERA) violates the constitutional rights of the plaintiff U.F.W. and its members by restricting the exercise of their constitutional rights in several broad areas.

Provisions of the United States Constitution which plaintiffs claim are violated by the Act are the First and Fourteenth Amendments with respect to specific provisions of the Act, which provisions it is alleged violate freedom of speech and assembly and the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

In particular, plaintiffs' arguments deal with nine separate issues and at least as many provisions of the AERA in support of their contention that the AERA is unconstitutional. Those issues and the statutory provisions dealt with are: (1) A.R.S. § 23-1385(B)(6) and (7) generally dealing with secondary boycotts as an unfair labor practice; (2) A.R.S. § 23-1385(B)(8) publicity directed at the ultimate consumer regarding nonuse of agricultural product as an unfair labor practice; (3) A.R.S. § 23-1385(B)(12) recognitional picketing as an unfair labor practice; (4) A.R.S. § 23-1389 employee representation and election procedures; (5) A.R.S. § 23-1385(C) access by union to workers on employer property; (6) A.R.S. § 23-1382(1) exclusion of stitchers and haulers from AERA; (7) A.R.S. §§ 23-1384, 23-1385(B)(11), 23-1385(D) elimination of "management rights" from bargaining process; (8) A.R.S. §§ 23-1385(B)(13), 23-1393(B) restriction and prohibition against striking and picketing; and finally, (9) A.R.S. § 23-1392 criminal penalties for violation of the Act.

The defendants have disputed the unconstitutional effects of the AERA as claimed by plaintiffs, and have consistently argued that this challenge fails to present a justiciable claim, both as to the substantiality of the federal questions presented by plaintiffs, and because they argue no case or controversy is presented to the Court. They also ask that this Court abstain from deciding this case. As will become clear in this decision, the doctrine of abstention is not applicable to this case.

Defendants further claim that all testimony and other evidence received by this Court during the course of a four day non-jury trial on January 18, 19, 20, and 21, 1977, should be rejected by this Court as immaterial and completely conjectural and consisting of legal conclusions rather than factual evidence — even opinions and testimony given by the defendants' own experts.

As to this last point, defendants impose too restrictive a view on the admissibility and character of the evidence submitted in this case. Under Rules 701, 702, 703, and 704 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, much of the testimony of the experts relied upon by both parties is admissible either as of the type reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field in forming opinions or inferences on the subject, or of the kind of specialized knowledge that assists the trier of fact in determining facts in issue, ultimate or otherwise.

A pertinent example would be the opinions expressed by the experts of both sides as to time periods to be expected in the operation of various provisions of the Act, the length of growing seasons, facts growing out of their personal experiences with organizing unions, or in the operation of analogous statutes, i. e., the National Labor Relations Act or the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

Again as to this last point, i. e., testimony concerning operation of the analogous statutes, what is admissible as to this line of testimony is not an opinion of the expert as to the legal effect of the particular provision of the AERA, but rather, given a particular interpretation of a provision, a hypothetical if you will as to the legal effect of a provision, the opinion of the expert as to the practical effect of such an interpretation based on his previous experience and expertise is admissible if the legal premise on which the question is based is accepted by the court. Even if a hypothetical question as such is not asked, but it is obvious that the opinion of the expert is based on a certain interpretation of a statutory provision, which the court accepts as the appropriate interpretation, then the interpretation and resultant opinion testimony based on this interpretation is admissible. Burlington Northern, Inc. v. Boxberger, 529 F.2d 284, 286-87 (9th Cir. 1975); United States v. School District 151, etc., 404 F.2d 1125, 1134-35 (7th Cir. 1968); Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation v. United States, 177 Ct.Cl. 184 (1966).

Evidence presented during the four day trial was introduced relative to A.R.S. §§ 23-1384, 1385(A)(5), 1385(B)(11), 1385(D), 1389, and on the plaintiffs' claim that the exclusion of stitchers and haulers and sixteen-year olds from the AERA, § 1382(1) and 1382(1)(g), was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause as well as a similar claim that exclusion of those farm workers who did not work for the same employer the previous calendar year from representation elections was likewise a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.


As a result of foundation questions asked of the witnesses, Caesar Chavez, Stanley Lubin, George W. Campbell, and James W. Cherry, this Court accepts all four as experts competent to give the opinions to which they testified.

It is the opinion of the Court that evidence need only be considered with respect to A.R.S. § 23-1389, the provision of AERA dealing with "Representations and elections," and with respect to A.R.S. § 23-1385(C). However, before setting forth the Court's findings as to these facts, the initial issue raised by defendants, namely, their allegation that this Court does not have jurisdiction because there is not a substantial federal question or a case or controversy presented to this Court by plaintiff's challenge to the AERA, will be settled.

Defendants in consistently espousing this view, that this Court does not have jurisdiction, have again emphasized in their argument that a single judge would have had jurisdiction to dismiss this case upon the Article III grounds and that this holds true even more so with the three-judge court.

The lack of jurisdiction motion was initially denied by the district judge prior to the empanelling of a three-judge court. Then the matter remained unresolved by this panel because of plaintiffs' contentions that the AERA was invalid on its face as overbroad and vague with respect to alleged infringement of constitutional rights. This, coupled with the criminal penalty provisions and the complexity of the case, made postponement of the jurisdiction question until after the trial a reasonable course of action. In so ruling we left Article III open as a threshold question and could proceed to a decision on the merits once jurisdiction was settled.

Plaintiffs' response to defendants' Article III attack is that such attack is not valid because of the "Stipulation Regarding Enforcement of the Act," filed by the parties, which reflects some seven suits have been filed against the plaintiff (U.F.W.) and its members and supporters based on sections of the AERA, and that as a result speech activities have been enjoined including handbilling and oral conversations — on three occasions by an ex parte temporary restraining order without notice or hearing.

In addition, plaintiffs argue that the Board itself has initiated charges against the U.F.W. which resulted in limitations on plaintiffs' rights. Finally, plaintiffs note that in Roy's Liquor, et al. v. United Farm Workers (set forth in the said stipulation), the Board apparently held they had no jurisdiction to...

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6 cases
  • Bryant v. Woodall
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
    • August 24, 2018
    ...the union and its members and supporters through seven lawsuits and at least one set of charges. See United Farm Workers Nat'l Union v. Babbitt, 449 F. Supp. 449,452 (D. Ariz. 1978), rev'd, 442 U.S. 289 (1979), and vacated sub nom. Babbitt, 442 U.S. 936; see also Babbitt, 442 U.S. at 293 & ......
  • Babbitt v. United Farm Workers National Union
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    ...Amendment problems. Moreover, the statute does not preclude voluntary recognition of a union by an agricultural employer. Pp. 312-314. 449 F.Supp. 449, reversed and Rex E. Lee, Washington, D. C., for appellants. Jerome Cohen, Salinas, Cal., for appellees. Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opi......
  • Seals v. Hickey
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 2, 1982
    ...Co., 232 U.S. 318, 34 S.Ct. 333, 58 L.Ed. 621 (1914); Gherna v. State, 16 Ariz. 344, 146 P. 494 (1915)." United Farm Workers Nat. Union v. Babbit, 449 F.Supp. 449, 454 (D.C.Ariz.1978). Separability involves essentially two considerations: the legislature must have intended separability and ......
  • Bruce Church, Inc. v. United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO
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    • January 15, 1991
    ...a union's right to first amendment free speech has been noted by other courts and authorities. See, e.g., United Farm Workers Nat'l Union v. Babbitt, 449 F.Supp. 449 (D.Ariz.1978), reversed on other grounds, 442 U.S. 289, 99 S.Ct. 2301, 60 L.Ed.2d 895 (1979), and vacated, 442 U.S. 936, 99 S......
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1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • State Bar of Arizona Employment Law Handbook Chapter 1 The Employer-employee Relationship and Employment Contracts Article 1.1 The History of Labor and Employment Law In Arizona*
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    ...v. Ariz. Agric. Emp't Relations Bd., 143 Ariz. 622, 694 P.2d 1236 (App. 1985).[225] Laws 1972, Ch. 137, § 1; A.R.S. § 23-1384(2).[226] 449 F. Supp. 449 (D. Ariz. 1978).[227] 442 U.S. 289 (1979).[228] See Article 2.1, infra.[229] Laws 1993, Ch. 139, § 1; A.R.S. § 23-1381 et...

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