March 14, 2024

Adam Shah

SCOTUS and Billionaires Threaten the Rights of Working People

Recent Supreme Court justices’ rulings – from affirmative action to reproductive rights – are part of a long, far-right checklist meant to destroy democracy. And it’s not just politicians at the helm of this strategy. 

During the State of the Union last week, President Biden asked the Supreme Court justices sitting in the audience: “my God, what freedom … will you take away” next? The justices sat stoney-faced as Biden referenced their overturning of Roe v. Wade. But if their billionaire buddies had been in the room, they would’ve had an answer for the President. Next up on the chopping block: the right to form a union.

As we discussed recently, Amazon (led by Jeff Bezos), SpaceX (led by Elon Musk, who also owns Tesla), and Trader Joe’s (led by Bryan Palbaum) have all argued in legal proceedings that the agency that protects workers when they try to organize a union is unconstitutional. Other cases continue to pop up, including two filed by a billionaire-funded organization that is trying to undo Starbucks Workers United’s unionization drive.  

Bezos’, Musk’s and Palbaum’s timing isn’t coincidental.   

Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, has pointed out that 80+ years ago the Supreme Court rejected these very same arguments against the law that protects unionization. CEOs haven’t spent those eighty years embracing unions. As shown by recent fights to organize at Starbucks and Amazon, corporations have fought unionization tooth and nail – spending millions on union-busting lawyers and firing hundreds of workers who even attempt to organize their peers. Until now, they haven’t argued that the Court should reverse its former ruling and gut protections for workers.  

The slow but continuous appointments of far-right judge after far-right judge have produced the perfect opportunity for CEOs to strike. An extreme Court that is willing to overturn the fundamental rights of pregnant people will not hesitate to destroy the rights of workers. And they will not stop with unionization. This conservative movement also has its sights set on laws that protect our air and water, minimum wage laws, worker health and safety laws, and anti-discrimination laws.  

The billionaires are clear on their priorities: convince the Supreme Court to turn back the clock to a time before the New Deal. Despite their efforts, our vision for a multiracial, 21st democracy is not out of reach. This year we will participate in a crucial election and thousands of organizers will mobilize from coast to coast in support of protections for workers, a worker-led transition to clean energy, and an end to corporate greed. Brick by brick, we can destroy these billionaires’ attempts to dismantle our democracy. 

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