Monday, February 6, 2023

US Supreme Court considers limiting the right to strike

The United States Supreme Court this Tuesday heard oral arguments in the Glacier case against the transporters union, where cement company Glacier Northwest argued that a strike by its truckers destroyed the material it sued them for. going. ,

The merits of the case concern the manner in which union disputes are resolved: the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the preferred forum for determining whether a strike is in accordance with the law, according to the laws of the country. , who is currently probing the matter.

For the truckers union, this means they cannot be subject to a state lawsuit like the one Glacier Northwest filed after the strike. This was also upheld by the Washington State Supreme Court, where the company filed suit, which refused to hear the case.

The company is now asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the Washington court’s decision, allowing the truckers union to face a statewide lawsuit.

To do so, and to accept Glacier’s thesis as valid, the nation’s highest court would be going against its own precedents, which determine that matters concerning the legality of union action should be left in the hands of the NLRB. Go

The specific action that Glacier is protesting was abandoning truckloads of cement that were not delivered to customers, which eventually caused the material to cool and become unusable.

The company argues that this amounts to destroying the product, something that is not protected under labor laws, so the right to strike will not prevent workers from suing in state court.

The workers, on their part, explained that they not only took the trucks back to the company during the strike, but also left them running so that the material could not cool down until the engine was shut down.

Progressive Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson compared the workers’ action to the result of a strike by workers at a supermarket, explaining that workers could not be blamed for spoiling milk when they walked off their jobs.

Carter Phillips, an attorney representing the US Chamber of Commerce, objected to that classification and in effect asked the court to reverse the Washington court’s decision not to hear the case.

However, he also agreed that abandoning a perishable product is not actively the cause of company material destruction.

Darin Dalmart, the attorney representing the union, assured that his clients owe the company a large margin to recover the cement or to distribute it by other means, and that, in fact, all strikes are an attempt to harm the company economically. Therefore, accepting Glacier’s thesis would be tantamount to restricting the right to strike.

Delmart assures that as long as employees take measures to avoid serious destruction of company material, they are not responsible for the waste of perishable goods.

The US government has taken an unorthodox role in the case, accepting arguments from both sides and proposing an intermediate solution that would not mean overturning constitutional precedents.

According to the US administration’s characterization of the facts, the Washington Supreme Court should have agreed to hear the company’s claim, as the NLRB had not acted on the matter at that time.

However, once the Labor Relations Board has decided to hear the matter, it is the forum where it has to decide whether the workers’ work is protected under the labor laws.

By fully accepting Glacier’s thesis, the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn precedent giving priority to the NLRB to intervene in cases where the legality of a strike is in question—a precedent that would protect workers across the country from equal labor. Allows to be subject to standards.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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