Unions oppose Gorsuch nomination

Unions are taking a stand against President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

In letters to lawmakers and messages to members, unions say that Gorsuch’s record as a judge on the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and his judicial philosophy show that as a Supreme Court Justice, he would put the private interests of corporations and big business ahead of the public interests.

Deborah Burger and Jean Ross, co-presidents of the National Nurses Union, in a letter to US senators, said Judge Gorsuch is “driven by ideology” rather than a devotion to the law.

Gorsuch “has been consistently dismissive of Americans’ rights to meaningful equality and workplace justice” and his record shows that he “promotes business interests at the expense of the average American,” wrote Burger and Ross.

In a separate message to Senate Democrats, NNU urged them to join the Senate’s Democratic Leader Sen. Charles Schumer in filibustering Gorsuch’s nomination.

“We strongly support (Sen. Schumer’s decision to  filibuster) and urge all Senate Democrats to vote against cloture on the floor of the Senate,” said Burger and Ross.

A successful filibuster would raise the number of votes needed to secure Gorsuch’s nomination from 51 to 60.

Dennis Williams, president of the United Autoworkers (UAW) also wrote a letter to senators urging them to reject Gorsuch’s nomination.

In addition to criticizing Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record of supporting business over workers, Williams’ expressed concerns about how Gorsuch’s nomination would affect civil rights and campaign finance cases that come before the Supreme Court.

“Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy and public statements strongly suggest that he would decide cases in a way that eviscerates what remains of our campaign finance laws and further weakens voting rights,” wrote Williams.

Both the UAW and Communication Workers of America (CWA) are urging members to get involved in stopping the Gorsuch nomination.

The UAW in a flyer, urged members to contact their senators to tell them to vote no on the nomination.

The CWA in a e-mail message to members did the same.

In the message, CWA described testimony  that its General Counsel Jody Calemine gave at a hearing on the Gorsuch nomination conducted by the Senate  Judiciary Committee.

In that testimony, Calemine brought the case of Trans Am Trucking, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board to the attention of the committee and the general public.

The case involved a truck driver named Alphonse Maddin, who was fired by his employer Trans Am Trucking.

Maddin was stranded on a highway in subzero weather after the brakes on his truck’s trailer froze. Maddin reported the problem to Trans Am and waited for three hours for help to arrive.

When Maddin began to feel the effects of hypothermia, he became worried that he might freeze to death. With no word from Trans Am on when help would arrive, Maddin unhooked his trailer from the cab and drove himself to safety.

As a result, the company fired him for abandoning the trailer.

Maddin filed a complaint against Trans Am with the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

The case was heard by an administrative law judge with US Department of Labor who ruled in favor of Maddin and awarded him back pay.

Trans Am appealed the judge’s decision, and the appeal was eventually heard by the US Court of Appeals Tenth District.

A three judge panel of the appeals court voted 2 to 1 in favor of Maddin ruling that Maddin had acted appropriately when he decided to save his own life.

Gorsuch, on the other hand, dissented saying that the company was justified in firing Maddin.

In addition to mobilizing their members to oppose the Gorsuch nomination, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have joined a grassroots coalition of public interest groups called People’s Defense to stop the Gorsuch nomination.

People’s Defense on April 1 held rallies in cities across the US to speak out against the Gorsuch nomination.

At the rally in Cleveland,  SEIU Local 1 Ohio Director Yanela Sims told the audience that the US needs an economy and political system that works for working people; not one that puts the special interest of corporate America above the public interest.

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