In writing the opinion of Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. vs. Busk et. al, Justice Clarence Thomas clearly was not thinking about handing unions a powerful new tool for unionizing. Instead he was thinking about how it was fine for any company to restrain and employee for hours each week without any compensation. But, in his wording, he may have just struck down right-to-work laws nationwide without realizing it.
These arguments are properly presented to the employer at the bargaining table, see 29 U.S.C., 254(b)(1), not to a court in an FLSA claim.
Per this section of US Code, the issue of a workplace retaining an employee without compensation for hours each week is one which must be handled in negotiations between the employer and the employee, their agent or their collective bargaining representative. This statement, as simple as it is, has a lot of weight behind it due to the nature of the case behind it. By retaining the full text of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), combined with this decision, the entire workplace dynamic for collective bargaining just changed overnight.
The case itself involves contractors at an Amazon warehouse facility, who can take considerable time each day to go through security checkpoints in order to leave their jobs. The warehouse itself is not unionized, and Amazon is firmly against unions.
Clarence Thomas just put into a court decision that workplace issues involving compensated time must be handled in negotiations, the cornerstone of collective bargaining and unions, and not the courts. By blocking the courts, but with FLSA itself upheld This also means that companies can no longer fail to engage in negotiations, relying upon the courts to handle such matters – the Supreme Court just ordered them to the bargaining table. Tactics to block unionizing now can, and will be considered unconstitutional per this decision.
Laws like Right-To-Work, where an employee can avoid joining a union, now no longer can apply in the way intended. The Supreme Court just ordered people to the bargaining table, the Union representative, with but a few short words.
Words one never thought they would see appear here at Addicting Info:
Thank you Justice Clarence Thomas.