AFL-CIO’s Shuler: Supreme Court’s decision will not stop workers from exercising our right to strike

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT building in Washington, D.C.

Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court sided with corporations over working people in its ruling June 1 in Glacier Northwest Inc., v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said when the facts are revealed on remand, it will be clear the union acted properly and the truck drivers’ strike was protected by federal law.

Glacier Northwest, a company in the state of Washington, sued the International Brotherhood of Teamsters seeking compensation for ready-mix concrete that went to waste amid a weeklong drivers’ strike in 2017.

The Washington Supreme Court threw out the case, but Glacier Northwest appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, betting a right-wing majority that’s already proven its animosity toward unions would seize the opportunity to kick working people once again.

Last week’s ruling seemed to prove that.

“The court unnecessarily gave the employer another bite at the apple,” Shuler said. “The court recognized that for nearly a century, federal law has protected workers’ right to strike in order to improve workers’ wages, hours and working conditions.

“Unfortunately, the court then relied on unfounded allegations in the employer’s complaint that the union intended to damage the cement trucks when it called the strike.

“The court acknowledged that the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) General Counsel investigated and found the strike was likely protected, but left it to the state courts to determine the significance of the federal finding,” Shuler said. “We are confident that the state court will now allow the NLRB to decide if the strike was, in fact, protected and the NLRB will find the union acted properly.”

Shuler added: “This decision will in no way deter workers from going on strike. Working people are standing up for our rights and fairness in the workplace at a rate not seen in generations. Striking for justice on the job is a critical part of the Labor Movement’s resurgence. Public support for unions is at its highest level since 1965, and organizing drives are taking place in every state. The bottom line is that the energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness of working people cannot, and will not, slow down in the wake of this ruling. The AFL-CIO and our more than 12.5 million members will continue to fight for workers, and we know that we will succeed.”

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