On Thursday, Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about a recent common-sense ruling by the Supreme Court.
The article reports:
Alternate headline: Pottery Barn rules apply to walkouts. In an 8-1 decision in which only Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson fully dissented, the Supreme Court ruled today that unions have to reimburse employers for damages caused by striking workers. The National Labor Relations Act does not confer immunity to unions or workers — the latest ruling from a court that has stiffened the boundaries for labor activities in the last few years:
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that federal labor law did not protect a union from potential liability for damage that arose during a strike, and that a state court should resolve questions of liability.
The majority found that if accusations by an employer are true, actions during a strike by a local Teamsters union were not even arguably protected by federal law because the union took “affirmative steps to endanger” the employer’s property “rather than reasonable precautions to mitigate that risk.” It asked the state court to decide the merits of the accusations.
The opinion, written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Three conservative justices backed more sweeping concurring opinions. A single justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissented.
The case involved Teamsters who created truckloads of cement and then walked off the job–leaving the trucks full and no one to offload the trucks. Obviously, if the cement was left in the trucks, it would ruin the trucks. The Supreme Court (with the exception of one Justice) held the Teamsters liable for the damage they had caused. Striking is legal–damaging property is not.
The article also notes two important aspects of the case:
The Teamsters argued that they can’t be responsible for hypothetical risks to employer property in the absence of workers. Barrett emphatically rejects that, and concludes that the union organized the walkout specifically to create the highest potential risk of catastrophic damage when they had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent it…
…Congress created the National Labor Relations Board to deal with labor disputes, not property torts. The latter are matters for civil litigation separate from labor-management negotiations. It’s this argument from KBJ that has Thomas call for an end to the Garmon precedent, and which Alito et al expressly reject in their concurrence. To think otherwise would be to create an Open Season on employers’ property under the guise of ‘negotiations.’
Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes some very interesting arguments.