- Forget about event permits unless you hire union? Feds arrest Boston mayor’s tourism aide on extortion charges [Connor Wolf/Daily Caller, Boston Herald, indictment, WCVB (auto-plays)]
- Georgia to feds: franchise law is state law, and you’re not free to tear up its terms to favor unions [International Franchise Association, Connor Wolf/Daily Caller]
- Unique California farm-labor law binds growers to “contracts” they never signed. Is that even constitutional? [Ilya Shapiro, Cato] Upstate farmers furious over Gov. Cuomo’s move to unionize farm labor in New York [City and State]
- NLRB strikes down innocuous handbook provision expecting employees to maintain “positive” workplace environment [Jon Hyman] “Is it time for a new NLRB rule on handbook policies?” [same]
- “Funding Ideology, Not Research, at University of California ‘Labor Institutes'” [Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- NLRB Philadelphia regional director, criticized over role in pro-union fund, suspended for 30 days [Law360, Labor Union Report]
Even as absurd NYC policy ideas go, this one’s a doozy [Seth Barron, City Journal]:
To encourage a “sustainable, resilient food system,” New York’s city council has proposed a $5 million municipal farm-subsidy program, under which the city would buy development easements in the Hudson Valley. In this way, the council plans to help feed “3 million New Yorkers liv[ing] in neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets.” It’s alarming to consider that New York could suffer food shortages so acute that the city government must establish its own agricultural supply chain.
EDITED, see comments: Correspondent Carl Edman shares an anecdote on Twitter of a Soviet dignitary visiting London who asked about the bureau in charge of food supply to the city “and was shocked when told that there was no such thing and nobody in charge. At least that won’t happen in future NYC!”
- Almond growing in California is not all that water-intensive compared with other crops. So why does it gets demonized in the name of social justice? [Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover]
- Had unexpected findings of a study on dietary fat and health 40 years ago been fully aired, nutrition policy might have taken different turn [Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post] “Today’s scientific hypotheses may be wrong. Better, then, not to make them law.” [David Boaz, Cato]
- Royal Crown Cola was on its way to becoming one of the great soda companies, then came the cyclamate scare compounded by the irrational Delaney Clause [Mental Floss]
- Jayson Lusk on the economics of food waste;
- “Menu Mandates and Obesity: A Futile Effort” [Aaron Yelowitz, new Cato Policy Analysis, earlier]
- “When an industry demands that the government regulate it more strictly, you usually don’t have to look very far to find a barely-hidden agenda.” [Jesse Walker, Reason on catfish makers]
Billboards in Washington state urging tougher environmental regulations on farmers were funded by (if this still comes as any shock) the federal taxpayers, through a grant program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And that wasn’t disclosed, although by agency rule it was supposed to be. [Don Jenkins, Capital Press] A few months ago EPA got caught illegally expending tax money to stir up pressure on Congress to support a wider interpretation of its own powers on the “Waters of the United States” rule. More on advocacy funding here.
Related, from way back in 1999, “Smart Growth at the Federal Trough: EPA’s Financing of the Anti-Sprawl Movement” by Peter Samuel and Randal O’Toole, Cato Policy Analysis #361:
The federal government should not subsidize one side of a public policy debate; doing so undermines the very essence of democracy. Nor should government agencies fund nonprofit organizations that exist primarily to lobby other government agencies. Congress should shut down the federal government’s anti-sprawl lobbying activities and resist the temptation to engage in centralized social engineering.
The New York Times in its “Op-Docs: Verbatim” series provides re-enactments of noteworthy real-life exchanges. “In this dramatization of transcripts from a legal deposition, lawyers grapple with a plaintiff’s bizarre testimony about the destruction of his chicken’s pasture.”
A lesson in conservation: wild ginseng, which often grows on parkland, is under pressure due to high demand from overseas, but an expert says “if the Feds try to protect [it] by banning its sale, the black market will swallow the remainder up.” [Clint Rainey, New York mag]
- As intended: union win rate rises sharply under new ambush election rule [Adam Abrahms/Epstein Becker Green, Tim McConville/National Law Review, earlier] Effect on management’s rights of speech [W$J]
- Transparency in public labor agreements is partisan issue in Pennsylvania [Charles Thompson, Harrisburg Patriot-News]
- California agricultural labor board is anything but neutral on United Farm Workers [Katy Grimes, Flash Report via Daily Caller]
- On fast food unionization, it’s just Department of Labor and SEIU, sitting in a tree [Labor Union Report; related, Josh Eidelson/Business Week]
- GOP funding riders would block “activist” NLRB from enforcing slew of new rules [The Hill]
- Depoliticizing the NLRB through administrative steps [Samuel Estreicher, Emory Law Journal via Workplace Prof]
- “In a World Where Talking to Yourself May Now Qualify as ‘Concerted’ Activity…” [Alison Loomis, Seyfarth Shaw]
It’s raining raisin rights! The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1, as a Cato amicus brief had urged, that the Horne family of California have a Fifth Amendment right to compensation for the government’s seizure of half their raisin crop as part of an agricultural marketing order program. Only Justice Sotomayor dissented. There was also a 5-3 split on the question of how compensation should be calculated, with the majority joining Chief Justice Roberts in holding that the Department of Agriculture was bound by its own estimate of the value of the raisins taken. Earlier on Horne v. USDA here.
Robert Thomas at Inverse Condemnation rounds up reactions. Commentary: Ilya Shapiro, Roger Pilon (and earlier on the Magna Carta angle), and Trevor Burrus/Forbes (good news: Court strikes down really awful New Deal farm program. Bad news: it took 80 years), all from Cato; Iain Murray, Ilya Somin. And thanks to Instapundit guestblogger Virginia Postrel for linking to our past coverage.