Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Glacier Northwest Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters. This case could significantly impact how labor unions conduct during strikes. At the heart of the matter, the Court must decide whether companies can sue private labor unions in state court for property damage. In 2017, unionized workers at Glacier Concrete went on strike during contract negotiations. In doing so, they left their cement mixer trucks filled with cement, resulting in significant damage and, by extension, personal injury.
Having spent my career in labor and employment law, fighting against governmental overreach, union coercion and dues skimming, and special interest agendas, I know how this ruling could impact organized labor. Unions in the private sector, if employees freely choose them to represent their interests in collective bargaining, have been an essential part of the market-based checks and balances in our economy for almost 200 hundred years. On the other hand, public employee unions are only sixty years old and have no legitimate function because the government is a monopoly. There is no competitive check on the public unions, and they end up overpaid and displace citizens’ control of the government. The private unions, in contrast, ensure a legitimate market function and are usually checked by competitors and their employees. But, like many other powerful groups, private sector unions can abuse their power. They can impose their wages on non-union employees (and taxpayers) with union-only prevailing wage laws and project labor agreements in public construction projects, preventing competition. They have also pushed courts and politicians to “exempt” them from the laws which apply to the rest of us for extortion, violence, and threats, and even from wage and hour laws. These monopolistic practices and special treatment built into the law should be ended, and the Glacier Northwest case, now before the US Supreme Court, may begin to do just that.
The Upper Midwest Law Center initiates pro-freedom litigation to protect against government overreach, special interest agendas, Constitutional violations, and public union corruption and abuses. Since 2019, we have engaged in numerous lawsuits to stop unions’ unconstitutional practices. See our lawsuit page to read more.
– Doug Seaton