Unions outraged at Trump-appointed judge’s order to give workers’ contacts with the media to bosses

Buffalo, NY. (PAI) — In flagrant disregard of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of a free press and free speech, a Donald Trump-named federal judge in Buffalo ordered Starbucks Workers United to turn over records of all contacts with print, broadcast, cable, internet and social media to Starbucks, which is suing the National Labor Relations Board in his court.

Judge John Sinatra’s decision produced outrage from The News Guild, the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America, and the NLRB’s Buffalo regional office, which promptly said it would appeal the decision to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Manhattan.

“Starbucks is out of line and actively violating state law, the First Amendment and the National Labor Relations Act,” said News Guild President Jon Schleuss. “Communications among workers and journalists have long been protected by law in our democracy.

“Workers have a federally protected right to speak publicly about their wages, benefits and working conditions, including to the press. It is a fundamental American value.”

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler also cited the constitutional protections in urging the immediate reversal of Judge Sinatra’s dictate. And she pointed out Trump named Sinatra.

Letting Sinatra’s order stand “would allow large corporations like Starbucks to infringe on both the rights of workers to join a union without retaliation or intimidation, and journalistic freedom protected under the First Amendment,” Shuler stated.

“The ability of journalists to report the facts on corporate union-busting while protecting sources is essential,” she added.

Starbucks is suing the NLRB in Buffalo because the board’s regional office there ordered Starbucks to stop its massive and rampant labor law-breaking – 800 charges in 200 counts – nationwide against the workers’ organizing drive. Workers in more than 250 Starbucks stores have organized or petitioned the NLRB for union recognition votes.

Starbucks used its suit against the NLRB “to attempt to pry into union communications with workers and the media. If this is allowed to stand, it opens the door for corporations to engage in abusive tactics that would chill worker organizing and limit the ability of journalists to report on issues of great importance,” Shuler warned.


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