Supreme Court Crushes Unions By Limiting Collective Action Bargaining

In what will likely be remembered as an epic middle finger to America's unions, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday - in a decision split along ideological lines - that businesses can force employees into individual arbitration to resolve disputes, virtually eliminating the threat of a class-action lawsuit.

The Washington Post described the ruling as "an important outcome for business interests."


The decision could make life much harder for unions fighting for better conditions and wages. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the decision "egregiously wrong". She argued that individual complaints can be very small in dollar terms, or "scarcely of a size warranting the expense of seeking redress alone." The justice read a summary of her dissent aloud in the court.

In a comment that broke with the administration's official view, the National Labor Relations Board argued that requiring employees to waive their right to collective action conflicted with national labor laws. Bodies representing business were united in support of the ruling.

Meanwhile, lower courts had been split over the issue. Two rulings had been issued - two in which appeals courts ruled that such agreements can’t be enforced and a third in which the appeals court said they are valid.

According to the New York Times, the Court had ruled back in 2011 during the AT&T Mobility V. Concepcion case that companies could forbid class actions in contracts with consumers. These contracts typically require two things: That disputes be resolved and claims brought through arbitration.

The justices were asked to determine whether these same conditions apply to employees.


Dickweed Wang NidStyles Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:00 Permalink

It’s almost impossible for public employees to be terminated.


Exactly.  It's obvious this ruling was focused on the private sector as they've been trying to diminish the power of unions like the UAW and others in manufacturing for decades.  If anyone thinks that's a good thing they really don't know what they're talking about.  This has the potential to help shrink what's left of the American middle class even more.

In reply to by NidStyles

moneybots Dickweed Wang Mon, 05/21/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

"If anyone thinks that's a good thing they really don't know what they're talking about.  This has the potential to help shrink what's left of the American middle class even more."


Every cycle has an up phase and a down phase. The U.S. peaked when it was the producer to the world in 1950. The middle class will continue to shrink, regardless any Supreme Court ruling. Corporate and government pensions are under funded, regardless of any Supreme Court ruling. Illinois is financially underwater, regardless of any Supreme Court ruling.

In reply to by Dickweed Wang

sunkeye moneybots Mon, 05/21/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

Ownership / Rank & File relations within every organization should be collaborative not combative. I've gained much being a union member but know too their structure rife w/ potential abuse if not corruption. That said, management should always factor long-term organizational success rather than quarterly profit statement numbers. 

In reply to by moneybots

hannah The_Juggernaut Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

'This affects people who signed an agreement to use arbitration in the first place, right?  I don't see what the big deal with living up to your agreements is.'


the problem is that these big companies like at&t use the gov to create laws to force out competition so you cant go the the 'other company' because there isnt one. the epa wasnt created to clean up the environment. it was created to kill competition. same with the dot....if we didnt have the fed gov and people could do whatever they wanted it would be a different world entirely.

In reply to by The_Juggernaut

sessinpo Umh Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

There is also the issue of statistics. What I mean by this is that the population continues to grow. So in terms of shear numbers, yes, membership might be at its highest. But is it in terms of percentage? I don't know.

Point being, there is a big difference on how and what you use as a metric.

In reply to by Umh

Akzed Justin Case Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:14 Permalink

Unions are organized against non-union workers. Period. Their main goal is to limit the number of qualified workers for each skillset, thereby driving up the price.

Employer-provided health insurance came out of WWII due to wage and price controls. Insurance was not under these restrictions so it was offered to lure workers.

Without unions we would probably be just where we are now with workplace conditions anyhow, except e.g. Bethlehem Steel would still be around.


In reply to by Justin Case

snblitz Justin Case Mon, 05/21/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor

I was a child laborer in the US.  I used an exemption in the law at age 12, and at age 14 I got a specific exemption from the government that allowed me to work.

I did not feel exploited. Today both those exemptions to child labor laws are gone, and thus I would not have been able to get those jobs.

So the labor unions succeeded in reducing my freedom.

On the other hand, at another job, my job was unionized and my pay doubled.

I do not mind unions so much as the reduction in freedom.

I would call **mandatory** collective bargaining bad.

In reply to by Justin Case