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Supreme Court Ruling Reinforces System That's Rigged Against Working People

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By AFSCME Staff Explore the Issues Workers' Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling today in a case titled Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, said that employers can prevent workers from taking collective legal action to fight for better pay and working conditions.

The nation’s highest court ruled that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes. The ruling doesn’t apply to workers represented by labor unions.

The ruling was a “huge victory for employers, because it could significantly reduce the number of claims against them,” as one publication noted.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement that the court “chose to perpetuate and reinforce the rigged system that allows wealthy corporations to rake in profits by undermining workers’ rights.”

“The Court is preventing workers from building power in numbers. It will now be harder for low-wage workers in particular to have access to justice, to recoup wages they’re owed, to fight sexual harassment and more,” he said. “It is our hope that, in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, another case currently under Supreme Court deliberation, the justices will choose to re-affirm rather than impair the freedom of working people.”

To read the full statement, go here.