Kavanaugh's track record is not good for workers

To get a sense of where a nominee to the Supreme Court would rule on workers’ issues in the future, we can look to his or her past. That holds true for nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and has held a number of legal and political positions in the past. While only a small fraction of his records have been released for review in the confirmation process, there are notable cases where his positions are publicly available.

Undermining Collective Bargaining

In American Federation of Government Employees v. Gates, Kavanaugh wrote an opinion that would undercut collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of Department of Defense civilian employees. Another judge wrote that Kavanaugh’s position would “abolish collective bargaining altogether – a position with which even the Secretary [of Defense] disagrees.”

Reminder: The Supreme Court recently sided against workers in the Janus case, making it tougher for public employees to collectively bargain. Kavanaugh’s views would likely further stack the court against workers for many years to come.

Backing Employers

In Venetian Casino Resort v. NLRB, Kavanaugh sided with an employer who had requested police officers issue criminal citations to union demonstrators who were protesting legally. He backed CNN when the National Labor Relations Board found that the company discriminated against union members and needed to recognize and bargain with the workers. He sided with Verizon’s decision to prohibit union members from displaying pro-union signs in their cars at work.

Disregarding Worker Safety

In SeaWorld of Fla., LLC v. Perez, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited SeaWorld for not adopting sufficient safety standards after multiple workers were killed by an aggressive whale. When Sea World challenged the fines, Kavanaugh argued that the idea that employees should be protected from death or significant injury was “paternalistic” and he would have reversed OSHA’s actions.

Interested in reading more? For information on union- and worker-specific court cases, please check out the sources listed below. 

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222