My great-grandfather was a railroad man and a union organizer. He and his family were always moving because the railroad didn’t like him organizing, but didn’t want to let go of him because he was good at his job. I know this history because my grandfather wrote his autobiography.
My great-great-grandfather, his son, and his son’s son (my grandfather) were all railroad men who either belonged to the union or were organizing for the union.
I’ve worked in “right to work states” and in states where joining the union was a requirement for being employed.
The unions did remarkable things when they started. I agree with many of those actions. The child labor laws, why created to protect jobs, were good things. Safety regulations which were about safety were a good thing. Even some of the wage work was good.
Today, I find that most Unions are greedy sinkholes. What they are there to do is protect the income of the higher ups in the union. They do not seem to act in balanced ways.
My wife is a teacher, when the local union rep was recruiting, in a mandatory staff meeting called for the union to recruit, my wife asked the question I gave her “Who was the last Republican the union endorsed?” The rep could not give an answer.
According to my wife, there was a bit of quiet sniggering.
Because I follow the Supreme Court, I’ve noticed some good opinions coming out of the court recently.
—Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022) was the case that returned the question of abortion back to the state. —New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. V. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (U.S. 2022) told the state that the Second Amendment wasn’t a second class amendment that could be balanced away. —West Virginia v. EPA, 142 S. Ct. 2587 (2022) told the state that the executive branch had to actually have congress create laws, not just make a rule.
These were three powerful opinions. They returned power to the state and the people. Of course, those that want government control were very upset.
All of this brings us to a leftist meltdown:
Americans want to join unions. The supreme court doesn’t like that—Moira Donegan, Americans want to join unions. The supreme court doesn’t like that, The Guardian (Jun. 2023) I’m not sure where she got that the Supreme Court doesn’t like people joining unions. Maybe there is something else going on?
inflict financial consequences is not the same thing as intentionally destroying company property. The union says that they didn’t, and they say the proof was that the company was able to save the trucks. Regardless, there was a lot of money riding on the fast action of the company.
A quick google search tells me that you can buy a used barrel truck for $45k, while new ones run north of $150k. It is more than likely that the trucks in question were closer to $150 than $50. So $2.4 million on the line…
For the author of this article, there is nothing wrong with the union attempting to destroy millions of dollars worth of equipment. It was just good timing for the union.
But if you don’t mix concrete, it hardens, and becomes useless. If this happens in a barrel truck, sometimes that can cause damage to the truck, too.
—id. Now that is a mealy mouth way of putting it. If the concrete hardens inside a barrel truck, that truck is worthless. This isn’t a “sometimes” this is an “always”. And the Teamsters knew exactly what they were doing.
The Supreme Court described it a little differently:
—Galacier Northest, Inc., DBA Calportand v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 174, No. 21-1449 (U.S. Jun. 1, 2023)
Yep, the Teamsters waited until the trucks were already loaded and outbound. The drivers were told to return with the trucks full. It required
emergency maneuvers to empty all of those trucks before they sustained substantial damage.
The company then sued in state court for damages. The Union claimed that the National Labor Relations Act preempted the common-law conversion and trespass to chattels. I.e. It is just as criminal to destroy somebody else’s property as it is to take it. Depriving a person of the use of their property/chattel is a crime.
The claim was that the NLRA allowed the union to
engage in other concerted activities for the purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection
—id.. In other words, the Union believed that anything they did to the company to force the company to capitulate was covered under the NLRA.
(a) The parties agree that the NLRA protects the right to strike but that this right is not absolute. The National Labor Relations Board has long taken the position—which the parties accept—that the NLRA does not shield strikers who fail to take “reasonable precautions” to protect their employer’s property from foreseeable, aggravated, and imminent danger due to the sudden cessation of work. Bethany Medical Center, 328 N. L. R. B. 1094. Given this undisputed limitation on the right to strike, the Court concludes that the Union has not met its burden as the party asserting preemption to demonstrate that the NLRA arguably protects the drivers’ conduct. Longshoremen v. Davis, 476 U. S. 380, 395. Accepting the complaint’s allegations as true, the Union did not take reasonable precautions to protect Glacier’s property from imminent danger resulting from the drivers’ sudden cessation of work. The Union knew that concrete is highly perishable, that it can last for only a limited time in a delivery truck’s rotating drum, and that concrete left to harden in a truck’s drum causes significant damage to the truck. The Union nevertheless coordinated with truck drivers to initiate the strike when Glacier was in the midst of batching large quantities of concrete and delivering it to customers. The resulting risk of harm to Glacier’s equipment and destruction of its concrete were both foreseeable and serious. The Union thus failed to “take reasonable precautions to protect” against this foreseeable and imminent danger. Bethany Medical Center, 328 N. L. R. B., at 1094. Indeed, far from taking reasonable precautions, the Union executed the strike in a manner designed to achieve those results. Because such conduct is not arguably protected by the NLRA, the state court erred in dismissing Glacier’s tort claims as preempted. Pp. 6–8.
What we see here, is that the Supreme Court is not letting the state (and Unions) apply Chevron to claim “subject-matter expertise” and then do what they want.
Back at The Guardian, the author doesn’t see it this way. She says that the Supreme Court’s decision will cause companies to sue unions for striking, and that the unions will avoid striking for fear of being sued.
Here’s the thing, the company sued for actual damages. They didn’t sue because the teamsters walked out. They sued because the teamsters attempted to destroy company property. The Union was not successful at destroying the trucks, only in destroying the concrete.
There is something about an authority figure that just seems to set a leftist’s heart aflame. She wants the government “experts” to tell the rest of us what to do. They’re The Experts, don’t you know?
I’ve met some good scientists working for the government. I’ve met many more that were barely competent. Any place where the employees are judged not on how well they do their jobs, but on how many years they’ve been doing their job, you will have unqualified employees. Add to that an environment where it is extraordinarily difficult to lay off an employee, and you have a situation where the “subject-matter expert” couldn’t poor piss out of their own boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.
The author goes back to reading tea leafs and claiming that her opinion is fact:
The gestures toward a continued right to strike appear designed to secure the votes of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the majority, and to dilute the power of Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, who wanted to gut NLRB authority over strike-related litigation entirely.—id. The conservatives don’t want to “gut” the deep state, they want them to follow the constitution.
She might actually be correct here, the court might have made it harder for the Unions to bring class-action lawsuits. They have been working hard to stop forced unionization. The Supreme Court did make it so that farmworkers could work without fear of union organizers.
This opinion said nothing about making a strike illegal. It said, “don’t destroy your employers’ stuff on the way out the door.” That includes doing things that are designed to cause property damage at a later time.
If a union organizer pours sand into the oil fill of an engine, they haven’t “destroyed” the engine. That will happen later, when the engine is started and that sand eats up all the bearing surfaces.
I’m too lazy to update my CSL to link to the article, here is the URL: