News & Commentary

February 18, 2024

Will Ebeler

Will Ebeler is a student at Harvard Law School.

In this weekend’s news and commentary, UAW plans to strike at a Kentucky Ford factory; Amazon claims that the NLRB is unconstitutional; and Starbucks shareholders push for disclosure of company’s spending on union-busting.

A local of the United Auto Workers is planning to strike at a Ford factory in Kentucky. Although the national UAW negotiated a master agreement last fall, individual local unions can bargain around local issues. The union represents roughly 9,000 workers at the factory and has been negotiating with Ford over health and safety issues at the plant. It plans to strike starting on Friday if the parties can’t reach a deal. 

On Thursday, Amazon joined SpaceX and Trader Joe’s in arguing that the National Labor Relations Board is unconstitutional. It made its argument in a brief to an administrative law judge in a case about the company’s alleged retaliation against workers at its unionized Staten Island warehouse. Its arguments track those already made by SpaceX and Trader Joe’s: that the Board’s structure infringes on the Article II executive power, that the Board’s proceedings violate both Articles I and III, and that the Board’s proceedings violate the company’s right to a trial by jury. As Ben noted on Friday, John will be covering these arguments in greater detail.

Finally, on Friday a shareholder at Starbucks wrote an open letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Starbucks has failed to disclose $240 million it spent union-busting. The shareholder is the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of North American unions. According to SOC, the information is necessary for “informed voting decisions” before the company’s annual shareholder meeting on March 13. SOC has nominated three candidates to Starbucks’s board of directors, including Wilma Liebman, a former member of the NLRB. According to SOC, the expenses include litigation, lost employee time, and liabilities associated with alleged labor law violations.

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