Deeply Troubling

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Deeply Troubling
July 11, 2018


Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination is Deeply Troubling

We deserve a Supreme Court justice who will respect the rights of workers and who will enforce decades of legal precedent that protect us in the workplace. On Monday night, President Donald Trump rejected working men and women by selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.


Kavanaugh’s record is troubling, to say the least. Kavanaugh routinely rules against working people and their families:

  • In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO v. Gates, a partial dissent argued that Kavanaugh’s majority opinion would allow the secretary of defense to abolish collective bargaining at the Department of Defense.
  • In Agri Processor Co. Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, he argued that a company didn’t have to bargain with an employee union because the employees were ineligible to vote in the union’s election because they were undocumented immigrants.
  • In SeaWorld of Florida LLC v. Perez, he argued that a safety citation issued against SeaWorld after a killer whale killed a trainer was too paternalistic.

In Venetian Casino Resort LLC v. NLRB, he sided with the casino after an NLRB decision held that the hotel engaged in unfair labor practices by requesting that police officers issue criminal citations against legal protesters.

Kavanaugh regularly sides with employers in denying working people relief against discrimination in the workplace:

  • In Miller v. Clinton, he argued that the U.S. State Department could fire an employee because he turned 65.
  • In Howard v. Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, he argued that a black woman couldn’t pursue a race discrimination suit after being fired as the deputy budget director at the U.S. House of Representatives, claiming that the firing was protected under the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Kavanaugh rejects the right of employees to receive employer-provided health care:

  • In Seven-Sky v. Holder, he argued in a dissent that a president could declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and not enforce it, despite it being passed by Congress.

Kavanaugh promotes overturning U.S. Supreme Court precedent:

  • He appears eager to overturn the well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent of Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc., which held that unelected judges must defer to executive agencies’ construction of a statute when Congress has given an agency primary responsibility for interpreting its mandates, so long as the agency does not act contrary to Congress’ clear intent.
  • In United States Telecom Association v. Federal Communications Commission, Kavanaugh argued that the court shouldn’t defer to executive agencies when it comes to what he thinks are “major rules.”

Kavanaugh regularly sides with the privileged, including corporations, over the less powerful:

  • He wrote two dissents contending that a large corporation, in these cases Exxon Mobil Corp., should not be held responsible for its overseas misconduct. After Indonesian villagers alleged they were tortured and killed by soldiers working for Exxon, Kavanaugh argued that allowing the villagers to sue Exxon would interfere with the U.S. government’s ability to conduct foreign relations.
  • In United States v. Anthem, he sided with the merger of insurance companies Anthem and Cigna, which would have reduced competition for consumers in 14 states. The majority criticized Kavanaugh’s application of “the law as he wishes it were, not as it currently is.”

The Washington Post once described Kavanaugh as “nothing more than a partisan shock trooper in a black robe waging an ideological battle against government regulation.” It’s deeply troubling that the president thinks such a description is the best fit for the Supreme Court.  

Spread the word:


November Ballot Taking Shape

The November ballot is starting to take shape as backers of controversial initiative petitions turned in signatures last week. If enough signatures are verified, they will appear as ballot measures on the November ballot.

Here’s a list of the Oregon AFL-CIO’s positions on these important issues:

  • Oppose Initiative Petition 1
    Backed by anti-choice extremists, it would reduce access to abortion by eliminating funding for abortion and women’s healthcare for people on Medicaid and public employees.  
    Click here to learn more about fighting back against IP 1
  • Oppose Initiative Petition 22
    Repeals 30-year-old sanctuary state law. Backed by a known hate group, it would increase racial profiling, harm immigrant communities, and jeopardize public safety.
    Click here to learn more about fighting back against IP 22
  • Support Initiative Petition 25
    Requires publicly traded corporations to provide to the Secretary of State a public report of their Oregon taxes. This petition will not appear on the November ballot. Here’s why.
  • Oppose Initiative Petition 31
    Would make it harder to eliminate tax loopholes or hold corporations and the wealthy accountable for paying their fair share.
  • Oppose Initiative Petition 37
    Tax carve out for corporations like Walmart who want to avoid paying their fair share. Blocks the ability of voters and local governments to make their own decisions about local issues and address public health crises.

Upcoming Events

  • Rally for Public Services
    Thursday, July 26th, 5:30-6:30pm
    Main Post Office, SW Hoyt & Broadway in Portland
    Stop Cuts, Closures and Privatization
    Defend the Postal Service, Schools, and Hospitals from the Administration's Attacks
    Celebrate Postal Heritage Day—the 243rd Birthday of the People’s Postal Service
    Click here to RSVP and learn more
  • Labor at Lagunitas!
    Thursday, August 2 at 6pm
    Lagunitas Community Room, 237 NE Broadway in Portland
    Join fellow union members for a fun, union-wide gathering consisting of craft beers, delicious complimentary taco bar and lively conversation! These days, we need keep a strong bond of solidarity throughout all of our locals. That's what these evenings are all about! 100% of proceeds go to Labor’s Community Services Agency.
    Click here to RSVP and learn more.
  • Oregon AFL-CIO / LERC Summer School
    August 3 – 5, 2018 at the University of Oregon in Eugene
    Click here to register and for more information about Summer School
    As recent events in Oregon and across the nation confirm, the fighting spirit of the union movement is alive and well. Please join us for a weekend of exciting classes and thoughtful discussion that will help you develop your leadership skills and become part of launching a new era in Oregon unionism.