Supreme Court rules against organized workers’ right to sue


Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the right of employees to file class action suits if they signed arbitration agreements conditional to employment. The decision now limits the pursuit of legal remedy, in these cases, to  single worker arbitration. This brings a course change that sets the pendulum back toward the employer advantage in cases of workplace violations. This reflects the new shift in philosophy towards a more conservative approach to labor issues.


Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch; photograph by Franz Jantzen, 2017.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote:


The respective merits of class actions and private arbitration as means of enforcing the law are questions constitutionally entrusted not to the courts to decide but to the policy-
makers in the political branches where those questions remain hotly contested. pp. 28,
The weighting is usually against the employee in arbitration procedures, as firm officiating the procedure is usually paid by the employer. Suppressive tactics, and unfair advantage, loom in the minds of when wages and workplace safety are heard. The collective bargaining resources of union and class action suits do not apply as a result of this decision. The reasoning behind it comes from the NRLA of 1925 section 7, and goes on from there to citing case law.  The written opinion of the court is that arbitration its own area, negating arguments regarding collective rights for wage and other labor issues covered by other acts.
Section 7 give the right for workers to enter into collective bargaining. This is the pillar for labor union leaders so be able to enter into agreements and talks with employers.  Later, the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 further fleshed out practices by eliminating the “closed shop” era of union only shops.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, calling the court’s majority decision of 5-4 “egregiously wrong”. Her opinion stated
The inevitable result of today’s decision will be the underenforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers.

The protections afforded by class action representation change. The increase in right to work legislation‘s march through the last decade will see workplace disputes handled differently under this decision. While Taft-Hartley addresses the collective bargaining as a whole, it does not address arbitration, so arbitration was not addressed.

How does this affect Pagan workers?  Religiously intolerant workplaces gain an additional layer of protection against concerns as individual hearings and increased financial burden for recourse.  Since hearing are private in arbitration, you lose the resource available from open hearings. In conservative workplaces, this bodes a tougher fight for the livelihood of many.


Source: PBN News

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