Press Release

Press Release AG Healey Joins Coalition in Support of Workers’ Rights in Case Before the Supreme Court

Brief Defends the Right of Workers To Strike
For immediate release:
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division

Media Contact for AG Healey Joins Coalition in Support of Workers’ Rights in Case Before the Supreme Court

Roxana Martinez-Gracias

BOSTONAttorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing a brief with the Supreme Court defending workers’ rights.  

In the amicus brief, filed in Glacier Northwest Inc v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174, the coalition of attorneys general argue that the case potentially threatens workers’ right to strike and the effectiveness of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of private sector employees to organize and collectively bargain for better workplace conditions including pay.  

“Workers need to know that they will be protected when they organize, unionize, or go on strike to improve their working conditions,” said AG Healey. “I am proud to join my colleagues in support of the workers involved in this case and call on the Supreme Court to uphold workers’ right to organize and advocate for themselves.”  

The case follows a 2017 labor dispute between Glacier Northwest, which provides construction services and building materials, and Teamsters Local 174. The union’s collective bargaining agreement had expired and, in the course of negotiating a new one, the union called a strike. When the strike was called, some Glacier drivers were in the process of delivering mixed concrete but left the job to participate in the strike. The mixed concrete became unusable, and Glacier later filed a lawsuit against the union arguing that its actions amounted to intentional destruction of property that is not protected by the union’s right to strike.  

The Washington State Supreme Court sided with the union, finding that the strike was arguably protected under the National Labor Relations Act, and therefore ruling that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should determine whether the actions taken were reasonable and protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Glacier subsequently sought review from the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepted the petition in October.  

The states’ brief describes how numerous court and NLRB rulings protect strikes that exert economic pressure even if a strike causes product loss. The brief also argues that Glacier’s arguments undermine the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees’ “concerted activities” and explicitly recognizes the right to strike. The right to strike is essential to a core purpose of the Act – restoring the bargaining power between employees and employers.   

The coalition further argues that a concerted withdrawal of labor is virtually the only way employees can exert economic pressure on employers when attempting to bargain collectively. They also claim that if strikes could not threaten economic loss to employers, they would be less effective, and employees would lose their most powerful legally sanctioned tool. 

AG Healey has consistently been an advocate for the rights and protection of workers. In June of this year, the AG’s Office joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in support of a federal rule that would empower workers and expand public awareness of on-the-job dangers. In the same month, the AG’s Office also joined an amicus brief that defended states’ authority to protect workers from retaliation when speaking up about unsafe working conditions and workplace violations. 

AG Healey is joined in the amicus brief, which was filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.  

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case in January 2023.  


Media Contact for AG Healey Joins Coalition in Support of Workers’ Rights in Case Before the Supreme Court

Office of the Attorney General 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division 

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division protects workers from exploitation and sets a level playing field for employers. We enforce wage and hour, public construction, and child labor laws.

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