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September 2018

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A Justice for the Rich

There's a saying, "When people show you who they are, believe them."

For 12 years on the federal bench, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been showing us exactly who he is, siding with corporations over workers whether it's a matter of our rights or, literally, our lives.

Judge Kavanaugh's track record shouts that he would be an even more reliable vote for the interests of CEOs and the wealthy than was now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

In other words, Judge Kavanaugh could do even more harm to working people than the justice whose swing vote gave us the devastating 5-4 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME in June.

Fueled by Janus, the deep-pocketed enemies of unions are plotting more legal assaults on workers' rights, and you'd better believe they're counting on Judge Kavanaugh's vote.

Why wouldn't they? As you'll read in this issue, this is a judge who threw out an NLRB order requiring now-President Trump to bargain with Atlantic City hotel workers. Another time, he backed the union-busting owner of the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas over its employees.

In 2016, Judge Kavanaugh stood with Verizon against our own members in Springfield, Mass. Overruling the NLRB, he declared that workers parking in the company's lot couldn't display signs in their cars urging their employer to honor the union contract — in their own personal vehicles.

And his attitude toward workplace safety is truly dangerous. In a well-known case, he sided with SeaWorld against OSHA after a whale killed its trainer while a horrified audience watched. The fact that he was out-voted by two other judges doesn't make his opinion any less of a threat. As an OSHA official said, "Judge Kavanaugh made the perverse and erroneous assertion that the law allows SeaWorld trainers to willingly accept the risk of violent death as part of their job. He clearly has little regard for workers who face deadly hazards at the workplace."

The White House is bragging to the business community about Judge Kavanaugh's hostility toward regulations, many of which protect our members and other workers from injury and toxic exposure on the job. The administration also believes his vote could dismantle what's left of the Affordable Care Act and deliver the fatal blow to life-saving protections for pre-existing conditions.

Working people seeking justice won't even have a wobbly swing vote to hang their hopes on if the nation's highest court becomes a 5-4 rubber-stamp against them.

We know the odds of keeping Judge Kavanaugh off the court aren't good. But Americans on many fronts are fighting his nomination, and our working-class voices can make the opposition that much stronger. His confirmation hearings are scheduled to start Sept. 4, but it's not too late. I hope you'll join me and call your senators and tell them that workers and their families can't afford the pain that Justice Kavanaugh would inflict.


Also: Stephenson: Back to Basics Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer