Senate Should Reject Anti-Worker Kavanaugh

Supreme Court Judge

While the media is now rightly focusing on deeply disturbing allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, I want to draw your attention to another reason why the Senate should deny him a lifetime appointment to the high court: His extreme anti-worker views.

Kavanaugh’s record as a federal judge reveals him as someone who always finds in favor of the wealthy, powerful and privileged, and against working men and women. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “His anti-labor views are especially extreme, even for a conservative.”

Indeed, in every single case that pits the interests of management against the interests of labor, Kavanaugh sides with big business. For example:

  • After a Sea World trainer was killed by a killer whale — the third person killed by this particular whale — the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company and ordered it to better protect trainers. Sea World sued OSHA and when the case came before Kavanaugh, he issued an opinion against OSHA, callously claiming the dead trainer should have known the risks involved in taking the job. The same bizarre logic, applied to our industry, would surely lead Kavanaugh to rule that OSHA need not protect our members because they know construction work is risky. This alone disqualifies him from a Supreme Court seat.
  • In 2012, Kavanaugh voted to overturn a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling ordering the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City to bargain with the United Auto Workers. The hotel went out of business in 2014, but it’s not hard to imagine this decision is one reason Trump chose to nominate him (along with Kavanaugh’s extreme view that presidents should not be subject to criminal investigations).
  • After the NLRB ruled that a CNN move to replace a unionized contractor with non-union workers was unlawful, Kavanaugh issued an opinion that CNN had not violated the National Labor Relations Act and did not have to pay back wages to the wrongly terminated employees.
  • After workers organized a union at Agri Processor, a meat wholesaler, the company claimed it wasn’t legally obligated to bargain with the union because many members were undocumented immigrants. “The majority on the D.C. Circuit agreed with NLRB that the participation of undocumented workers did not void the election in any way because undocumented workers meet definition of employee,” law professor Angela B. Cornell told Think Progress. “But [Kavanaugh] dissented and said undocumented immigrants tainted the election. That is troubling.”
  • In 2015, Kavanaugh even found that, contrary to an NLRB ruling, AT&T was allowed to ban workers from wearing union shirts on the job.

Kavanaugh’s anti-worker views are far outside the mainstream, but completely in sync with the likes of the billionaire Koch Brothers and the Federalist Society, the extremist legal organization to which President Trump has outsourced his judicial selections. In fact, Kavanaugh’s background prior to becoming a judge was as a partisan political hack who worked on Kenneth Starr’s tainted investigation of President Clinton, the Bush-Gore recount in Florida, and the George W. Bush White House.

I strongly urge our members to call their U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. Tell them to vote no on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, because he is an anti-worker extremist beholden to big business who will strip us of our rights, undermine our earning power, and make our jobs more dangerous.

Daniel E. Stepano
General President