US Supreme Court eliminates workers’ right to collectively sue corporations

by Eric London from WSWS

The United States Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis eliminates the right of tens of millions of workers to bring class action lawsuits against their employers. With the bang of a gavel, the Supreme Court has effectively stripped workers of their legal rights and guaranteed the flow of even greater fortunes to the corporate and financial oligarchy, which controls America’s legal and political system.

The majority opinion, written by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, upholds the legality of mandatory arbitration clauses that bar workers from filing lawsuits. This locks the courtroom doors for coal miners suffering from black lung, construction workers with mesothelioma, fast food workers cheated of overtime pay, farmworkers denied the minimum wage, waitresses sexually harassed by their bosses, and countless other workers suffering forms of workplace abuse and exploitation. It announces “open season” for intensified corporate exploitation at tens of thousands of workplaces across the country.

The decision revives the legal doctrine of the Gilded Age elaborated by the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision Lochner v. New York, which overturned a state law limiting the workday to 10 hours on the absurd grounds that the regulations violated workers’ “right” to work as long as they want. In reality, that ruling safeguarded the power of corporations to exploit workers without recourse.

Today’s Supreme Court followed a similar logic, justifying its decision to eliminate workers’ right to sue with the lie that workers are always free to negotiate better contracts with their corporate bosses.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 60 million workers—56 percent of all private-sector nonunion workers—now no longer have access to the courts. Arbitration is a sham process set up by the corporations to deprive workers of even the minimal protections afforded by the courts and to spare businesses the cost of litigation.

Arbitration forces workers to take their grievances to a private tribunal. Sixty percent of all arbitrators are lawyers who formerly represented corporations. Arbitrators develop corrupt relationships with corporate lawyers who regularly appear before their tribunals and almost always rule against workers. Due process is severely limited as the rules of the arbitration are written by the corporations themselves.

According to a 2015 study, workers prevail in only 20 percent of all claims brought to arbitration and win an average of just $23,548. By comparison, workers win 57 percent of cases in state court, with an average compensation of $328,008…

[read more here]

4 Responses

  1. Decisions of the robed Marxist baboons on the Supreme Gaggle of Corporate Lawyers ARE NOT law!!! They are opinions!!!! Read the sacred CONstipation (yes, I meant to write it that way), people!!!! The Supreme Communists have ZERO power of judicial review granted to them, they DO NOT make LAW, and the fact is that every member of the criminal CONgress knows full well that they can strip away practically all of the jurisdiction of these cheesy Bolsheviks.

  2. oh yeah, they’re leftists & cheesy “bolsheviks”, etc. that’s why they just voted against the right of the people to collectively sue their employers … you don’t seem to know the game or the score.

    • lol… damn commies! always handing shit over to BIG BUSINESS and screwing the workers… hey… wait a minute. That doesn’t make sense. now I’m confused.

    • Maybe you should read my comment a bit more carefully, and then take some time to think about it. So . . . wait for it . . . it doesn’t make any damned difference how they “vote.” Got it now?

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