The case was brought on behalf of the only farmworkers’ union in the state — the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) — and two individual farmworkers who are members of FLOC. It was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Law Offices of Robert J. Willis. The federal district court preliminarily enjoined the law from being implemented while it reviewed the parties' claims. In 2021, the court granted partial summary judgment for the plaintiffs, ruling that the portion of the Farm Act restricting the rights of FLOC and its members to make settlements with agricultural employers violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. However, the court ruled against plaintiffs on their challenge to the portion of the law that prevents farmworkers from making purely voluntary agreements with their employers to deduct union dues from their paychecks, allowing that portion of the law to take effect. Plaintiffs partially appealed the court's summary judgment decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the state cross-appealed. Unfortunately, the Fourth Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs on the settlement issue and for the State on the union dues issue, and the full Fourth Circuit declined to rehear the case en banc.
FLOC v. Stein
November 14, 2017
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina