In a major decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) defeated a suit brought by National Right to Work (NRTW) on behalf of a United Airlines worker. If successful, NRTW’s suit would have weakened workers by weakening their unions.
“Under the guise of saving workers money, the real effort behind the suit was to stop the lifeblood of unions so we couldn’t bargain and represent workers as successfully as we do,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The ultimate goal was to reduce the wages, benefits and working conditions of union workers so the rich could get richer.”
NRTW attempted to import the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus decision to national air and rail transportation industries arguing that workers should have to “opt in” to union membership to pay full dues. Essentially, the decision would have created instability and ever decreasing effectiveness for workers to bargain better pay, better benefits and more job security.
The Fifth Circuit’s decision follows a previous similar decision by the Third Circuit, which also rejected importing the Janus decision into other private sector industries.
“If successful, NRTW would have brought the scourge of free riders to the air and rail transportation industries,” said Pantoja. “The IAM’s top notch legal team delivered for workers and the entire labor movement. The Machinists Union will always fight in any arena to further the rights of workers.”
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