The Supreme Court has ruled that companies can sue unions for strike-related financial damages, dealing a crushing rebuke to unions, a Democratic Party stronghold.
On Thursday, the court ruled in favor of a Washington concrete company seeking to resurrect its lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which allegedly damaged its product.
“The 8-1 decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett means the company, Glacier Northwest Inc., can pursue a lawsuit against the union in state court over an August 2017 strike in which drivers walked off the job, leaving wet concrete in their trucks. Barrett, one of the court’s six conservatives, wrote that a state court was wrong to dismiss the claims at such an early stage in proceedings based on its concern that the claims conflicted with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a federal law that protects union activity,” NBC News reported.
“Because the union took affirmative steps to endanger Glacier’s property rather than reasonable precautions to mitigate that risk, the NLRA does not arguably protect its conduct,” she said.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by President Joe Biden, was the sole justice to dissent, stating that the decision “risks erosion of the right to strike.”
She stated that by siding with the company, the court “intervenes in this conflict, proceeding to render an opinion on the legality of the union’s strike activity.”
“This case is Exhibit A as to why the board — and not the courts — should ordinarily take the first crack at resolving contentious, fact-bound labor disputes of this nature,” she said.
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar, explained the decision in a Twitter thread.
“The first decision is out. It is Glacier NW v. International Brotherhood,” he said. “The Washington Supreme Court is reversed in an opinion by Justice Barrett. Only Justice Jackson dissented with the court ruling that federal law does not preempt a company’s state law tort claims against a union when a strike causes damage to the company’s property.”
“Glacier was the big ticket case today. The ruling against unions could prove something of a game changer. The nearly unanimous court ruled that ‘the Union did not take reasonable precautions to protect Glacier’s property from imminent danger resulting from the drivers’ sudden cessation of work,’” he said in another thread.
“Here is the key holding from Justice Barrett (there were concurrences as well as a lone dissent from Justice Jackson): ‘The Union’s actions not only resulted in the destruction of all the concrete Glacier had prepared that day; they also posed a risk of foreseeable, aggravated, and imminent harm to Glacier’s trucks. Because the Union took affirmative steps to endanger Glacier’s property rather than reasonable precautions to mitigate that risk, the NLRA does not arguably protect its conduct,’” he said.
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
And while many speak of the “divided” court, the decision was joined by liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. CONTINUE READING…