California agriculture is big business. It generates more than $43 billion in revenue each year. The industry employs approximately 750,000 workers, more than one third of all farm workers in the country.
California is unique in American farm labor, not just because of its economic dominance, but also because the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) provides protection for farmworkers’ right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining. Despite the passage of this law in 1975, however, only a tiny number of farm workers are organized today. Yet, the industry has grown dramatically in size and profitability over the last 40 years.
This seminar will examine the relationship between legal institutions and farm labor, in California and elsewhere, both in the U.S. and internationally. Labor organizing, immigration, technology and other issues will be covered.
The seminar is dedicated to the memory of both Cesar Chavez, the founder and leader of the United Farm Workers union, who died 20 years ago and our own Professor Herman Levy, who died a decade ago, and was a key architect of the ALRA. Leading academics from law and other disciplines as well as labor activists will present their views to the seminar.