News & Commentary

May 21, 2024

John Fry

John Fry is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary, SpaceX’s suit against the NLRB heads to California again; UC Santa Cruz workers strike over Gaza protests; and Amazon commits ULPs.

After yet another flurry of motions and appeals, SpaceX’s suit against the NLRB is being transferred from the Southern District of Texas to the Central District of California. The lawsuit, which asserts multiple constitutional challenges to the agency, appeared to be destined for California following a district court order back in February. SpaceX vigorously attempted to keep the suit in Texas, ostensibly a friendlier forum in which to challenge a federal agency, but the company narrowly failed to convince the Fifth Circuit to reconsider the transfer en banc. In the wake of this defeat, SpaceX filed additional motions in the Southern District of Texas. When the district did not immediately rule on these motions, the company managed to appeal to the Fifth Circuit once again, successfully enjoining the NLRB proceedings against SpaceX which underlie the lawsuit. This injunction may constitute a valuable delay for SpaceX, but the transfer to California could hamper its efforts to declare the NLRB unconstitutional, which has far larger implications.

Academic workers at the University of California, Santa Cruz went on strike yesterday, protesting the UC system’s handling of pro-Palestinian protests on campuses. As Divya reported last week, the United Auto Workers local representing UC academic workers has authorized a statewide strike. The union has opted to conduct rolling strikes at different times on different campuses, of which the UC Santa Cruz strike is the opening salvo. While the union argues that the UC system has committed unfair labor practices by failing to protect and even disciplining protesters, the UC system argues that the protests are not related to working conditions, making the strike unlawful.

Amazon was found on Friday to have committed “numerous and pervasive” unfair labor practices at LDJ5, a Staten Island warehouse where the Amazon Labor Union lost an election in 2022. In her decision, the ALJ noted Amazon’s “proclivity to violate” the NLRA and ordered the company to read a notice aloud at the warehouse. The ULPs included retaliating against workers for union activity, threatening and interrogating pro-union workers, and enforcing workplace rules in a discriminatory manner against union activity. Amazon has declared its intent to appeal the ALJ’s decision.

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