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Labor and Employment Law

University of Michigan Law School

United States Supreme Court

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The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias Mar 2018

The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias

Articles

As Parts I and II of this Essay elaborate, the examination yields three observations of relevance to constitutional law more generally: First, judge-made constitutional doctrine, though by no means the primary cause of rising inequality, has played an important role in reinforcing and exacerbating it. Judges have acquiesced to legislatively structured economic inequality, while also restricting the ability of legislatures to remedy it. Second, while economic inequality has become a cause célèbre only in the last few years, much of the constitutional doctrine that has contributed to its flourishing is longstanding. Moreover, for several decades, even the Court’s more ...


Labor And Employment Arbitration Today: Mid-Life Crisis Or New Golden Age?, Theodore J. St. Antonie Jan 2017

Labor And Employment Arbitration Today: Mid-Life Crisis Or New Golden Age?, Theodore J. St. Antonie

Articles

The major developments in employer-employee arbitration currently do not involve labor arbitration, that is, arbitration between employers and unions. The focus is on employment arbitration, arbitration between employers and individual employees. Beginning around 1980, nearly all the states judicially modified the standard American doctrine of employment-at-will whereby, absent a statutory or contractual prohibition, an employer could fire an employee "for good cause, for no cause, or even for cause morally wrong." Under the new regime, grounded in expansive contract and public policy theories, wrongfully discharged employees often reaped bonanzas in court suits, with California jury awards averaging around $425,000 ...


Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Most lawyers, law professors, and judges are familiar with two standard critiques of formalism in legal reasoning. One is the unacknowledged-policymaking critique. This critique argues that formalist reasoning purports to be above judicial policymaking but instead simply hides the policy decisions offstage. The other is the false-determinacy critique. This critique observes that formalist reasoning purports to reduce decision costs in the run of cases by sorting cases into defined categories, but argues that instead of going away the difficult questions of application migrate to the choice of the category in which to place a particular case.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission And Structural Reform Of The American Workplace, Margo Schlanger, Pauline T. Kim Jan 2014

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission And Structural Reform Of The American Workplace, Margo Schlanger, Pauline T. Kim

Articles

In one of its most-watched recent cases, the United States Supreme Court struck down a class action alleging that Wal-Mart stores discriminated against female employees in pay and promotion decisions. The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart’s corporate culture and highly discretionary decision-making practices led to sex discrimination on a company-wide basis, and they sought injunctive relief as well as backpay for individual employees. Reversing the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court held in Wal-Mart v. Dukes that the proposed class failed to meet the requirements for class action certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules ...


Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2008

Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

"Mandatory arbitration" as used here means that employees must agree as a condition of employment to arbitrate all legal disputes with their employer, including statutory claims, rather than take them to court. The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of such agreements on the grounds that they merely provide for a change of forum and not a loss of substantive rights. Opponents contend this wrongfully deprives employees of the right to a jury trial and other statutory procedural benefits. Various empirical studies indicate, however, that employees similarly situated do about as well in arbitration as in court actions, or even ...


After 70 Years Of The Nlrb: Warm Congratulations -- And A Few Reservations, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2005

After 70 Years Of The Nlrb: Warm Congratulations -- And A Few Reservations, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The following essay is based on a talk the speaker was invited to deliver to the National Labor Relations Board on June 3 in Washington, D.C., on the occasion of the agency's 70th anniversary.


Labor And Employment Law In Two Transitional Decades, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2004

Labor And Employment Law In Two Transitional Decades, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Labor law became labor and employment law during the past several decades. The connotation of "labor law" is the regulation of union-management relations and that was the focus from the 1930s through the 1950s. In turn, voluntary collective bargaining was supposed to be the method best suited for setting the terms and conditions of employment for the nation's work force. Since the 1960s, however, the trend has been toward more governmental intervention to ensure nondiscrimination, safety and health, pensions and other fringe benefits, and so on. "Employment law" is now the term for the direct federal or state regulation ...


The Changing Role Of Labor Arbitration (Symposium: New Rules For A New Game: Regulating Employment Relationships In The 21st Century), Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2001

The Changing Role Of Labor Arbitration (Symposium: New Rules For A New Game: Regulating Employment Relationships In The 21st Century), Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A quarter century ago, in a provocative and prophetic article, David E. Feller lamented the imminent close of what he described as labor arbitration's "golden age." I have expressed reservations about that characterization, insofar as it suggested an impending shrinkage in the stature of arbitration. But Professor Feller was right on target in one important respect. Labor arbitration was going to change dramatically from the autonomous institution in the relatively self-contained world of union-management relations which it had been from the end of World War II into the 1970s. When the subject matter was largely confined to union-employer agreements ...


Gilmer In The Collective Bargaining Context, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2001

Gilmer In The Collective Bargaining Context, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Can a privately negotiated arbitration agreement deprive employees of the statutory right to sue in court on claims of discrimination in employment because of race, sex, religion, age, disability, and similar grounds prohibited by federal law? Two leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions, decided almost two decades apart, reached substantially different answers to this questionand arguably stood logic on its head in the process. In the earlier case of Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., involving arbitration under a collective bargaining agreement, the Court held an adverse award did not preclude a subsequent federal court action by the black grievant alleging racial ...


Contract Reading' In Labor Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2000

Contract Reading' In Labor Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A quarter century ago, I used the phrase "contract reader" to characterize the role an arbitrator plays in construing a collective bargaining agreement. This phrase has almost invariable been misunderstood to refer to reading or interpreting the contract. When I spoke of the "contract reader," it was in the context of judicial review of an award. My point was this: When a court has before it an arbitrator's award applying a collective bargaining agreement, it is as if the employer and the union had signed a stipulation stating: "What the arbitrator says this contract means is exactly what we ...


Mandatory Arbitration Of Employee Discrimination Claims: Unmitigated Evil Or Blessing In Disguise?, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1998

Mandatory Arbitration Of Employee Discrimination Claims: Unmitigated Evil Or Blessing In Disguise?, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

One of the hottest current issues in employment law is the use of mandatory arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. Typically, an employer will make it a condition of employment that employees must agree to arbitrate any claims arising out of the job, including claims based on statutory rights against discrimination, instead of going to court. On the face of it, this is a brazen affront to public policy. Citizens are being deprived of the forum provided them by law. And indeed numerous scholars and public and private bodies have condemned the use of mandatory arbitration. Yet the insight of that ...


Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1997

Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Would employees-including union employees-be better off with mandatory arbitration, even of statutory employment claims? The answer to this important question should depend less on abstract notions about the importance of statutory claims and the sanctity of the right to a jury trial, and more on a pragmatic assessment of what is likely to be best for the great majority of workers. Employing this type of analysis, which would take into account an overworked, underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, backlogged court dockets and other practical problems, my view is that most employees might well be better off with mandatory arbitration, provided ...


Divergent Strategies: Union Organizing And Alternative Dispute Resolution, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1994

Divergent Strategies: Union Organizing And Alternative Dispute Resolution, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations, the so-called "Dunlop Commission," is focusing on three principal subjects: (1) union organizing, (2) worker participation in management decision making, and (3) alternative dispute resolution (ADR). I am going to concentrate on the last, but first I would like to say a few words about union organizing. After all, unionization and collective bargaining - and for that matter, worker participation as well - can fairly be viewed as special forms of alternative dispute resolution.


Afterword To Chicago-Kent Law Review, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1990

Afterword To Chicago-Kent Law Review, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A unifying theme of this Symposium is as old and enduring as the common law: when and how can a well-established, successful adjudicative institution be adapted to meet the demands of new and substantially different situations? There have been splendid triumphs of transference, such as Lord Mansfield's appropriation of the law merchant in the eighteenth century as a major building block of modem commercial law. There have also been embarrassing failures, like the abortive effort to transport American labor law concepts en masse into the alien British environment of the early 1970s. The common question confronting the participants in ...


Commentary On 'Multiemployer Bargaining Rules': The Limitations Of A Strictly Economic Analysis, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1989

Commentary On 'Multiemployer Bargaining Rules': The Limitations Of A Strictly Economic Analysis, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Labor law bulks large on the docket of the United States Supreme Court. Yet never would I have included Charles D. Bonanno Linen Service, Inc. v. NLRB, dealing with the seemingly mundane issue of an employer's right to withdraw from multiemployer bargaining, in the select company of cases addressing such pulse-quickening subjects as affirmative action, picketing as free speech, and union antitrust liability. Professor Douglas Leslie's elegant and provocative article shows just how wrong I was--or at least just how far imaginative analysis can go toward seeing a world in a grain of sand. I lay no claim ...


Prevention Of Antiunion Discrimination In The United States, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1988

Prevention Of Antiunion Discrimination In The United States, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Nearly all rank-and-file employees in private businesses of any substantial size in the United States are protected by federal law against antiunion discrimination. The Railway Labor Act applies to the railroad and airline industries. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to all other businesses whose operations "affect [interstate] commerce" in almost any way. Supervisory and managerial personnel, domestic servants, and agricultural workers are excluded from this federal scheme. Separate federal law covers the employees of the federal government. About thirty of the fifty states have statutes ensuring the right to organize on the part of some or most of ...


Deferral To Arbitration And Use Of External Law In Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1988

Deferral To Arbitration And Use Of External Law In Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

proper definition of the appropriate roles of arbitrators, administrative agencies and the courts depends in great part on the notion that, generally speaking, in labor relations, the interpretation and application of contracts is for arbitrators, and the interpretation and application of statutes is for the administrative agencies and the courts. Arbitrators deal primarily with contract rights and administrative agencies, like the NLRB and the courts, deal primarily with statutory rights. If that distinction is maintained, the problems of deferral to arbitration and the use of external law in arbitration can be more easily resolved.


Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1986

Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Bernard Meltzer has testified under oath that he "rarely take[s] absolute positions." The record bears him out. While his colleagues among labor law scholars often strain to demonstrate that the labor relations statutes and even the Constitution support their hearts' desires, the typical Meltzer stance is one of cool detachment, pragmatic assessment, and cautious, balanced judgment. The "itch to do good," Meltzer has remarked wryly, "is a doubtful basis for jurisdiction" -or, he would likely add, for any other legal conclusion. In this brief commentary I propose to examine the Meltzer approach to four broad areas of labor law ...


The Wagner Act: Labor Law's Signal Event, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1985

The Wagner Act: Labor Law's Signal Event, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

There's no fun in stating the obvious. Sophisticated professionals bestow few kudos on those who declaim the conventional wisdom. Even so, one would have to be far more perverse than I, in this fiftieth anniversary year of the National Labor Relations Act, to suggest that the Wagner Act, wasn't the most important (and at the time of it- passage the most controversial) development in the last half-century of labor law.


Discrimination Bans Demonstrate Approaching Maturity Of Employment Law, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1984

Discrimination Bans Demonstrate Approaching Maturity Of Employment Law, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The pervasive message of this symposium sponsored by the Labor Relations Law Section, whether or not intended by the individual authors, is that American employment law is moving beyond adolescence and may be approaching maturity.


Legal Barriers To Worker Participation In Management Decision Making, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1984

Legal Barriers To Worker Participation In Management Decision Making, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Collective bargaining lies at the heart of the union-management relationship. It is the end and purpose of the whole effort to protect employees against reprisals when they form an organization to represent them in dealing with their employers. Collective bargaining is grounded in the belief that industrial strife will be checked, and the workers' lot bettered, if workers are given an effective voice in determining the conditions of their employment. My thesis is that federal law, even while placing the force of government behind collective bargaining, has so artificially confined its scope that the process has been seriously impeded from ...


The Bildisco Case And The Congressional Response, James J. White Jan 1984

The Bildisco Case And The Congressional Response, James J. White

Articles

Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Reform Act authorizes one in bankruptcy to "assume or reject any executory contract ...of the debtor." The most frequent use of the section arises when a lessee goes into Chapter 11 and decides either to reject its real estate lease with its lessor or, if the lease is at a favorable rental rate, to assume it and assign it to another. A less frequent but more controversial use of section 365 is to reject one's collective bargaining agreement with his employees.


Free Speech Or Economic Weapon? The Persisting Problem Of Picketing, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1982

Free Speech Or Economic Weapon? The Persisting Problem Of Picketing, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

"Peaceful picketing," the United States Supreme Court has said, "is the workingman's means of communication."' One line of analysis is that, as a means of communication, picketing is free speech and is therefore entitled to every constitutional protection afforded other forms of expression. This means that it cannot be subjected to special restrictions, such as antiboycott curbs, simply because it is picketing. The opposing line of analysis is that picketing is not simply speech; it is "speech plus." The "plus" element removes picketing from the realm of pure speech and enables it to be regulated in ways that the ...


Judicial Review Of Labor Arbitration Awards: A Second Look At Enterprise Wheel And Its Progeny, Theodore J. St. Antoine May 1977

Judicial Review Of Labor Arbitration Awards: A Second Look At Enterprise Wheel And Its Progeny, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Logic, so the cliche goes, is not the life of the law. But logic is very much like the DNA of the law-the structural principle without which all is sprawl and muddle. In the last ten years a controversy has raged over the role of the labor arbitrator in issuing awards, and the role of the courts in reviewing and enforcing those awards. This controversy has largely taken the form of a continuing debate among scholars and practicing arbitrators at the annual meetings of the National Academy of Arbitrators. With due respect to the thoughtful and experienced persons who have ...


Connell: Antitrust Law At The Expense Of Labor Law, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1976

Connell: Antitrust Law At The Expense Of Labor Law, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

From the outset, the difficulty in applying the antitrust concept to organized labor has been that the two are intrinsically incompatible. The antitrust laws are designed to promote competition, and unions, avowedly and unabashedly, are designed to limit it. According to classical trade union theory, the objective is the elimination of wage competition among all employees doing the same job in the same industry. Logically extended, the policy against restraint of trade must condemn the very existence of labor organizations, since their minimum aim has always been the suppression of any inclination on the part of working people to offer ...


Judicial Caution And The Supreme Court's Labor Decisions, October Term 1971, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1973

Judicial Caution And The Supreme Court's Labor Decisions, October Term 1971, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Labor law, like most other law in the making, is intensely political at its margins. On certain central themes, such as the right to join a union and freedom of contract, judges and administrators of widely varying outlooks may be able to reach a consensus. But along the frontiers of the law, no such accord can be expected. Conscientious decision-makers will inevitably differ with one another, depending on their diverse social values. They may even differ with their own prior positions, depending on shifts in the political climate. Moreover, if the decision-makers happen to be justices of the United States ...


Secondary Boycott: From Antitrust To Labor Relations, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1971

Secondary Boycott: From Antitrust To Labor Relations, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The ethos of the labor movement cuts against the American grain at several points. Our national instinct, reflected in many statutes and much judge-made law, is to exalt the rugged individualist over the anonymous group, to favor wide-open competition rather than a controlled market, and to prize the right of each person to remain aloof from the quarrels and concerns of his neighbors. It is not for nothing that our most universal folk hero is the frontiersman, who proudly stands alone and self-sufficient. Yet the ordinary workingman does not have the capacity to assume that heroic stance. For him strength ...


Judicial Valour And The Warren Court's Labor Decisions, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1968

Judicial Valour And The Warren Court's Labor Decisions, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Lawyers who practice regularly before the Supreme Court are likely to prepare their arguments with a specific Justice in mind. The choice does not necessarily turn on who might be the swing vote in a given case. Often it is just a matter of which Justice can be relied upon, because of his particular interests and his insight, to search out the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing positions, and to see that all the hard questions are asked. In a labor case during the early years of the Warren Court, that would usually have meant Justice Frankfurter. Later on ...


A Touchstone For Labor Board Remedies, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1968

A Touchstone For Labor Board Remedies, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Fashion dictates what lawyers argue about, and law professors write about, more than we may care to admit. In labor law, especially, the styles change with a rapidity that would impress a Paris couturier. During the past decade the spotlight has moved from union democracy to labor contract enforcement to the union organizing campaign. Today the "in" topic is National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) remedies. Yet if any subject deserves immunity from the vagaries of fashion, this is the one; for all rights acquire substance only insofar as they are backed by effective remedies. Coke said it long ago: "[W ...


Elfbrandt V. Russell: The Demise Of The Loyalty Oath, Jerold H. Israel Jan 1966

Elfbrandt V. Russell: The Demise Of The Loyalty Oath, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

In Elfbrandt v. Russell, the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, declared unconstitutional Arizona's requirement of a loyalty oath from state employees. At first glance, Elfbrandt appears to be just another decision voiding a state loyalty oath on limited grounds relating to the specific language of the particular oath. Yet, several aspects of Mr. Justice Douglas' opinion for the majority suggest that Elfbrandt is really of far greater significance: it may sharply limit the scope and coverage of loyalty oaths generally and, indeed, may presage a ruling invalidating all such oaths. Of course, only the Supreme Court can determine ...