Supreme Court V. Unions

By Bacon, David | The Nation, May 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court V. Unions


Bacon, David, The Nation


The recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board makes it plain that the Court's majority lives in denial of the social reality millions of working people face every day. The Court began by making worse an already bad precedent. As a result of a previous decision in the case of Sure-Tan Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, millions of undocumented immigrants lost the right to be reinstated to their jobs if they were fired for joining a union. Now the Rehnquist Court says they can also forget about back pay for the time they were out of work.

The decision rewards employers who want to stop union organizing efforts among immigrant workers--the very people who've built a decade-long track record of labor activism, often organizing themselves when unions showed little interest in them. Their bosses can now terminate undocumented workers who join a union, without monetary consequences.

But the Court's logic goes further, willfully ignoring social reality. Today in 31 percent of union drives employers illegally fire workers, immigrant and native-born alike. Federal labor law may prohibit this, but companies already treat the cost of legal battles, reinstatement and back pay as a cost of doing business. Many consider it cheaper than signing a union contract. In the Court's eyes, however, retaliatory firings are not even a violation of law.

William Gould IV, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board, points to "a basic conflict between US labor law and US immigration law." The Court has held that the enforcement of employer sanctions, which makes it illegal for an undocumented immigrant to hold a job, is more important than the right of that worker to join a union and resist exploitation on the job.

According to Rehnquist, Jose Castro, the fired worker in the Hoffman case, committed the cardinal sin of falsely saying he had legal status to get a job. This lie, told by millions of workers every year, is winked at by employers who want to take advantage of immigrants' labor.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supreme Court V. Unions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.