Could Supremes Outlaw Labor “Neutrality”?

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Union organizing could suffer a devastating blow by the U.S. Supreme Court this term.

In November, Justices hear a case on labor / management “Neutrality Pacts,” agreements which spell out each side’s role in organizing.  Usually, this means employers are barred from engaging in overt anti-union practices and accept some form of “card check” certification.

Unions use neutrality pacts to reduce the legal entanglement and employer intimidation widespread in National Labor Relations Board elections.

After years of struggle, UNITE HERE, for example, recently pressured Hyatt Hotels to accept neutrality terms.  And unions in Los Angeles, when possible, make such deals in return for support of large development projects.

It’s been a bad decade (and a bad half-century) for the American Labor Movement:

Union membership percentages continuing to slide, states restrict public sector bargaining and right-to-work spreads.

The case before the Court is technical and may not produce a sweeping ruling.  But it’s certainly possible that a majority of justices seize the opportunity to blunt one of  Labor’s few remaining weapons.

Comments (2)


  1. Brad Cagle says:

    The stacked Roberts court will have its revenge. Prevailing wage decisions of late, at the Federal level have not been favorable to Building Trades as well.

    It seems the vision of a plethora of disenfranchised and poor citizenry are of no threat or discomfort to an all powerful and wealthy Oligarchy in the formerly great USA.

  2. [...] post first appeared on Labor Lou and is republished with permission.) U.S. Supreme Court 2013-10-01 Lou Siegel [...]

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