Attorney General Lockyer Wins Federal Court Victory Barring Use of Taxpayer Money to Influence Labor Organizing in the Workplace

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals en banc (“full court”) decision upholding California law which forbids employers who receive state grant or program funds from using those funds to assist, promote or deter union organizing:

“California state law says that taxpayer money should not be used by public employers or private business to influence workplace elections. The right of employees to freely decide whether to unionize is fundamental, and already guaranteed by both state and federal laws. The business plaintiffs failed to convince the court that federal law should pre-empt a reasonable state restriction on the use of its own taxpayers' dollars. I am pleased that the 9th Circuit upheld California's common sense law.”

Today’s Ninth Circuit decision reverses previous rulings issued by a federal district court and a three-judge panel of the circuit which had held that the California law was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. The decision upholds Assembly Bill 1889 (Cedillo), which was enacted by the state legislature in 2000. The case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Bill Lockyer, and can be found at the Ninth Circuit’s website: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/.

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