July Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein

Passing the Torch

We know that union pride is often passed down through the generations.  We feel it when a son or daughter gets a job in the same union shop their parent had retired from; when a union salary makes it possible to send a child to college as a first-generation college student; or when a dental procedure or pair of eyeglasses is affordable because the union negotiated for quality health care. 

Oddly enough, anti-union pride can also find its way down through the lineage. 

In mid-July, the untimely resignation of Alexander Acosta (a story itself too lengthy to get into here) prompted President Trump to nominate Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, to be the next Secretary of Labor. 

Following in the footsteps of his father (Antonin), who died in 2016 before he could cast the deciding vote in the anti-union Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Eugene Scalia has long-represented the likes of Walmart and other companies who strongly oppose workers’ rights. 

The most glaring example of Eugene's favoritism toward employers is his opposition to a regulation intended to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries.  In 2001, the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate blocked his nomination to the Labor Department on the grounds he had dismissed the regulation because he believed it was based on “unreliable science.”

Eugene Scalia also prevailed in a 2006 case where he served as legal counsel to Walmart, helping them defeat a Maryland law that would have required employers of 10,000 or more to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on employee health care costs.

Come 2020, please remember the power to decide who is the next Secretary of Labor rests in the hands of the United States Congress and President who WE elect. 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/us/politics/eugene-scalia-labor-secretary.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/scalia-friedrichs/462936/
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/mar/29/supreme-court-scalia-public-sector-unions

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