collective bargaining

collective bargaining

U.S. News: High Court Rules for Bosses on Arbitration Bravin, Jess . Wall Street Journal , Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]22 May 2018: A.3.

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FULL TEXT WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Monday gave businesses the power to block employees from joining

together to file claims for wage theft and other work-related violations, upholding employer-written rules requiring

that each case be limited to a single employee.

The decision, which overturns the position of the National Labor Relations Board and resolves a split among

federal appeals courts, gives teeth to employment contracts drawn to minimize corporate exposure to public trials

and class actions filed by their own employees.

Tens of millions of employees currently work under contracts limiting redress to claims filed before a private

arbitrator on an individualized basis. With the issue clarified, employers are expected to impose such limits on

millions more.

Business groups have championed individualized arbitration as an efficient means to resolve disputes and deter

frivolous claims that would live longer and cost more if brought in open court. Consumer and labor organizations

contend the private, often confidential system is stacked against individuals and can hide from public scrutiny

systemic misconduct by a company or industry.

Monday’s decision, breaking 5-to-4 along the court’s conservative-liberal divide, mirrored that broader debate in the

weight each faction gave to conflicting federal statutes and the congressional priorities they reflected.

“Employees will be able to vindicate claims that could not be asserted in court because of the complexity and high

cost of the judicial system. Consumers will continue to benefit from lower prices resulting from companies’ lower

legal fees,” said Andrew Pincus, who filed a friend of the court brief for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce arguing the

employers’ side.

The AFL-CIO’s general counsel, Craig Becker, took the opposite position. Many claims will go unaddressed, he said,

because individual employees often can’t afford to bring cases through arbitration. Moreover, there is “a

tremendous chilling effect by requiring each of those employees to step forward individually,” Mr. Becker said.

At odds were the Federal Arbitration Act, signed in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge, and the National Labor

Relations Act, which President Franklin Roosevelt signed a decade later in a vastly different economic


The arbitration act was intended to smooth the path for commerce by making arbitration clauses — agreements to

resolve disputes outside the court system through private decision makers — “valid, irrevocable and enforceable.”

The court’s rulings have elevated the sanctity of arbitration clauses above state and federal laws intended to

further other goals, such as protecting consumers from fraud or promoting competition in the marketplace. Writing

for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch cited that line of precedent to conclude that labor rights should give way as


“The NLRA secures to employees rights to organize unions and bargain collectively, but it says nothing about how

judges and arbitrators must try legal disputes that leave the workplace and enter the courtroom or arbitral forum,”

Justice Gorsuch wrote.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that the majority had undermined federal law intended “to place

employers and employees on a more equal footing.” She urged Congress to step in and explicitly authorize group

claims by employees.

Credit: By Jess Bravin


Subject: Arbitration; Labor relations; Employees; Consumers; Supreme Court decisions;

Federal court decisions; Employers

Location: United States–US

People: Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Coolidge, Calvin (1872-1933) Gorsuch, Neil M Becker, Craig

Company / organization: Name: Congress; NAICS: 921120; Name: American Federation of Labor-Congress of

Industrial Organizations; NAICS: 813930; Name: National Labor Relations Board–

NLRB; NAICS: 926150; Name: US Chamber of Commerce; NAICS: 813910

Publication title: Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y.

Pages: A.3

Publication year: 2018

Publication date: May 22, 2018

Publisher: Dow Jones &Company Inc

Place of publication: New York, N.Y.

Country of publication: United States, New York, N.Y.

Publication subject: Business And Economics–Banking And Finance

ISSN: 00999660

Source type: Newspapers

Database copyright  2018 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Contact ProQuest

Language of publication: English

Document type: News

ProQuest document ID: 2042026108

Document URL:

Copyright: (c) 2018 Dow Jones &Company, Inc. Reproduced with permission of copyright owner.

Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Last updated: 2018-05-23

Database: ABI/INFORM Collection

  • U.S. News: High Court Rules for Bosses on Arbitration

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