Monday, January 6, 2014

Federal Court: Workers Are Serfs With No Rights

It's not just the Supremes: thanks to Senate dems rolling over for Smirky/Darth on judicial nominees for eight straight years, then Obama letting court vacancies languish, there are thousands of corporatist repugs with lifetime appointments to the federal bench and decades ahead of them to make rulings that strip every last shred of self-determination from everyone in this country who is not obscenely wealthy.

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Former NLRB member Craig Becker on an extremely disturbing decision by the 5th Circuit that effectively creates what he terms a “rightless workplace.”

Unnoticed except by employment lawyers, the United States Court of Appeals in New Orleans last month issued what might be the most important workers’ rights opinions in decades. The decision permits employers to require workers, as a condition of keeping their jobs, to agree to arbitrate all workplace disputes and to do so as individuals, standing alone against their employer. The ruling could spell the end of employment class actions that were instrumental to breaching the barriers of both race and sex discrimination after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and remain critical to enforcement of minimum wage and other labor standards laws.


Effectively, Republican judges are continually pushing the United States toward the New Gilded Age, where employees no longer have rights but employers have expansively defined rights that happen to coincide with Republican policy beliefs about the workplace. Think of Gilded Age courts not enforcing Sherman Antitrust Act against the corporations the legislation originally intended to regulate but instead being used to bust unions, as was the case in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for a comparison. Courts are effectively ending a long tradition of workers using the institutions for their rights through defining laws to end class action suits.

The Republican Party and its court appointees have basically deified corporations. Whether we believe corporations should be our masters are not is irrelevant, since the courts will decide the question for us.


Malcolm The >:} said...

I was counting on the courts being the last bastion against fascism.

Silly me.

Anonymous said...

So this ruling has effectively overturned Weingarten?

I thought only the NLRB could rule on Employer-Employee relationships and held sway over any court short of SCOTUS.

Are there any labor attorneys out there?