Original jurisdiction in the case of El Concilio De Los Trabajadores De La Industria De Los Hongos by Trustee ad Litem Luis Guzman, Farm-workers Council of Berks County by Trustee ad Litem Christobal Rivera, Luis Guzman, Edilia Guzman, Wilfredo Negron, Jose Cruz, Luis A. Molina, and Wilfredo Melendez v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources.
Arthur N. Read, for petitioners.
Ellis M. Saull, Deputy Attorney General, with him, Cathy Curran Myers, Assistant Counsel, Allen C. Warshaw, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 221]
Petitioners, El Concilio de los Trabajadores de la Industria de los Hongos (El Concilio) and others,*fn1 bring this action in our original jurisdiction seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment and relief in mandamus against the Department of Environmental Resources of the Commonwealth (Respondent).
Presently before us is Petitioners' motion for partial summary judgment. The parties have filed numerous stipulations of fact and the pleadings are closed. At issue is whether Respondent has a statutory duty to inspect for full compliance with regulations found at 25 Pa. Code §§ 177.1-177.19, relating to
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 222]
farm labor camp housing provided by employers or farm labor contractors in the mushroom industry to four or more unrelated persons. The statutes in question are the Seasonal Farm Labor Act, Act of June 23, 1978, P.L. 537, as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 1301.101-1301.606 (1978 Act) and Sections 9 and 12 of the Act of May 18, 1937, P.L. 654, as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 25-9 and 25-12 (1937 Act).
Additionally, Petitioners seek (1) a declaration that 25 Pa. Code § 177.1a is without force and effect because it was improperly enacted and is contrary to the 1978 Act and (2) a declaration that Respondent uses invalid guidelines and practices in regard to inspection of and issuance of permits to housing in the mushroom industry.
Finally, Petitioners seek relief in mandamus directing Respondent to inspect all farm labor camp housing provided by employers or farm labor contractors in the mushroom industry to four or more unrelated persons and all farm labor camp housing provided in the mushroom industry to other seasonal workers, for full compliance with the regulations found at 25 Pa. Code §§ 177.1-177.19; and to promptly take all other necessary steps to ensure compliance by employers and farm labor contractors with such regulatory requirements.
We will consider the declaratory portions of the action first. We are mindful that summary judgment may be entered only where a case is clear and free from doubt, that the record must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and that any doubts regarding the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved in favor of the nonmoving party. Commonwealth v. Insurance Company of North America, 62 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 379, 436 A.2d 1067 (1981).
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 223]
Section 103 of the 1978 Act, 43 P.S. § 1301.103 provides in pertinent part:
"Seasonal farm worker." An individual employed in raising, cultivating, fertilizing, seeding, planting, pruning, harvesting, gathering, washing, sorting, weighing or handling, drying, packing, packaging, grading, storing or delivering to market or to storage or to a carrier for transportation to market in its unmanufactured state, any agricultural commodity as defined in the act of September 20, 1961 (P.L. 1541, No. 657), known as the "Pennsylvania Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act of 1968," or any farm product as defined in 1 Pa. C.S. § 1991 (relating to definitions) on a seasonal or other temporary basis; includes every individual irrespective of his primary employment, while he performs agricultural labor on a seasonal or other temporary basis, except any person who commutes daily from his permanent residence to the work site unless transportation is provided such a person by a farm labor contractor; and, other ...