Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Brett Kavanaugh dissent shows how far he'll go to side with the boss over workers

August 15th, 2018 | Laura Clawson

It’s starting to look like a requirement of being nominated to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump is having at least one gratuitously, ludicrously anti-worker dissent in your record. Neil Gorsuch had the frozen trucker, and as for Brett Kavanaugh, Dave Jamieson offers a candidate. Kavanaugh was the lone dissenter on a case in which a company was found to have created a spin-off company solely for the purpose of busting its union.

In the case, Island Architectural Woodwork, a unionized company, created Verde Demountable Partitions, which was non-union. Verde operated from an Island-owned building, used the same equipment, and was run by the daughter of Island’s chief executive. It was a thin fiction:

According to court filings, Island provided Verde with free equipment and rent but didn’t even bother to document its dealings with the supposedly separate company until after it was subpoenaed.  

As the appellate court later noted, “Island made no formal valuations of its assets before handing them off to Verde” ? an unusual move if the two companies were disconnected as they claimed.

On top of all that, Island’s president, Edward Rufrano, tried to make it a condition of a new contract for Island’s workers that their union sign away its right to organize the Verde workers. But to Kavanaugh, this wasn’t enough to show that Verde existed to avoid worker organizing:

“The Board … seems to have found something shady in the fact that Verde was started and primarily owned by two daughters of Island’s primary owner,” Kavanaugh wrote, making it clear he saw no such shadiness.

What would make Kavanaugh see something done by a business owner as shady? 

This blog was originally published at DailyKos on August 15, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos.

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