Monday, November 22, 2021

Labor unions sue for right to organize Connecticut National Guard

Four labor unions recently sued the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, arguing that federal law chills their speech and association rights, and those of Connecticut National Guard troops serving in a non-federal status. The suit alleges that federal prohibitions against U.S. military personnel forming labor unions do not apply to National Guard servicemembers when they are in a state status.  

As the lawsuit notes, "Section 976 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code makes it a felony for members of the armed forces—including members of the National Guard when activated to federal status—to join or attempt to form a labor organization. The same federal statute makes it a felony for unions such as Plaintiffs to support labor organizing in the armed forces, including by Guard members when activated to federal status."

So while U.S. military and federally mobilized National Guard personnel cannot form a labor union, the suit argues the plain language of the statute does not cover National Guard personnel while they are not activated to federal duty. The labor unions seek declaratory relief, arguing this federal statute should not infringe on their constitutional rights of speech and association, nor can it infringe on the Connecticut Governor's powers to supervise and control state guardsmen. 

According to the Stars and Stripes article, the Connecticut National Guard was not consulted about this lawsuit before it was filed.  

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