On the Supreme Court’s Decision in Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Washington, DC—Following is a statement from Catherine Ruckelshaus, general counsel and legal director of the National Employment Law Project:

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) believes in workers’ right to strike as a fundamental democratic principle. Today’s 8-1 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, goes against that right—a right the majority of Americans support. We disagree with the Court’s conclusion that the union failed to take “reasonable precautions” to protect the employer’s property. When it comes to the facts of this case, we side with Justice Jackson, who stated in her dissenting opinion:

“In the course of inappropriately weighing in on the merits of those questions at this stage, the majority also misapplies the board’s cases in a manner that threatens to both impede the board’s uniform development of labor law and erode the right to strike… Workers are not indentured servants, bound to continuing laboring until any planned work stoppage would be as painless as possible for their master. They are employees whose collective and peaceful decision to withhold their labor is protected by the NLRA even if economic injury results.”

Workers’ right to strike is a fundamental democratic principle.

Given the National Labor Relations Board expertise in nearly a century of applying the National Labor Relations Act, NELP believes the Board should decide. We are in solidarity with all workers striking for better working conditions, benefits, and pay—and are inspired by workers making the decision to strike and continuing to build worker power.

As NELP leads in building a good-jobs economy—we need a Supreme Court that will only build on, and not tear down, the movement wins of the last century, ensuring that workers, the planet, and everyone in our multiracial democracy can thrive.

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