We recently posted about the plans, secret and not so secret, of right wing forces to dole out retribution against unions.
Well, the first salvo in that upcoming battle was fired today.
The National Labor Relations Board announced that it had notified the Attorneys General of the states of Arizona (of course), South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah that the Board intended to sue each of those states in federal court over recent constitutional amendments enacted by those states which prohibit union representation of employees by any method other than a secret election.
Yes, in their infinite wisdom, those states have taken it upon themselves to dictate not only how employees can select bargaining representatives, but also how federal law in the area of labor relations should operate. As the Board has noted in a Fact Sheet addressing the state of the law, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Consitution mandates that the Constitution and the laws of the United States are “the Supreme law of the land.” In turn, the National Labor Relations Act, a law of the United States, affords employees the right to be represented by a union either through and election or through voluntary recognition by an employer. As a result, the individual states have no legal power to legislate in the area of labor-management relations.
This is not new law. These legal principles have been guiding national labor policy since the 1930s. It simply boggles the mind that the various state Attorneys General couldn’t have invested a few hours into the legal research necessary to find this out for themselves. A copy of the letter the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board has sent to the Attorney General for the states of Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah can be read at your leisure by clicking the preceding links.
Hopefully, those Attorneys Generals will do themsleves a favor and back away from a legal fight they simply cannot win.