Right to strike, but always with limits. This sentence summarizes the opinion of Judge Samuel Alito who explained that the Federal National Labor Relations Act “does not protect striking employees who engage in the type of conduct alleged here”. What was he referring to? To the Supreme Court ruling on June 1 that condemned the workers who left their trucks full of a load of wet concrete to go on strike.
Liberals and conservatives were united in this sentence. It was only Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who opposed it and argued that this ruling: “would erode the right to strike”.
The story is different for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, as published by Transport Topic. On behalf of the majority, this magistrate wrote that the union acted without taking minimal precautions with the load of concrete they were transporting and which belonged to the Glacier Northwest company.
“The Union’s actions not only resulted in the destruction of all the concrete that the Glacier had prepared that day; they also represented a risk of foreseeable, aggravated and imminent damage to Glacier’s trucks”, Barrett detailed along with the names of 4 more judges.
The conflict with the company and its workers occurred way back in 2017, when Glacier Northwest and the local Teamsters union failed to reach an agreement in their negotiations. At that moment, the truckers went on strike and left the trucks full of concrete. The company promptly sued this union, alleging that they intentionally damaged company property. However, the state court dismissed the complaint.
The lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court and there Judge Barrett clarified that by: “presenting themselves for duty and pretending that they would deliver the concrete, the drivers promoted the creation of the perishable product. Then they waited to get off work until the concrete was mixed and poured into the trucks”.
“The fact that the drivers returned the trucks to the Glacier facility does not do much for the Union: refraining from stealing an employer’s vehicles does not demonstrate that reasonable precautions were taken to protect them,” the lawyer continued.
The union did not take long to reply. On his social media, Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien wrote: “Ca n’t depend on employers to treat workers with dignity. Can’t trust elected officials / the courts to protect our liberties… But one thing I know… the labor movement has strength in numbers. And Teamsters will never give up our right to strike. Too many fought for that right”.