Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« Randy Ingram | Main | Biden intern becomes top lobbyist, Silverstein scoops NYT »

November 24, 2008

NY court: Union drumming not protected expression

Another union-busting ruling...

A New York court has ruled that drumming does not constitute a legitimate weapon of self-help for trade unionists:

ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals ruled Monday that union members drumming outside the Empire State
Building
in efforts to organize the building's security guards are not protected by federal labor law and are subject to nuisance complaints.

In a 4-2 decision, the court ruled that the unionists could hand out leaflets, which the National Labor Relations Board concluded was their federally protected right, but that doesn't automatically include drumming on a plastic container, metal pot or tin can.

"It cannot be said that Congress ... intended to pre-empt states from protecting its citizens from obnoxious conduct," Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. wrote for the majority. "The drumming in this instance does not constitute an 'economic weapon' or 'self-help' remedy akin to, for example, the employee walkout ... or a lockout by an employer." [AP]

Where does this leave the Strike Rat?

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef0105362084a1970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference NY court: Union drumming not protected expression:

Comments

If you lived or worked in that area, would you be happy if people were drumming outside day after day after day?

Didn't think so. Me neither.

Freedom isn't free, dude.

Do they still get to wear the King Kong suit?

Neither is quiet, Lindsay.

Hence the phrase, "No justice, no peace."

Or in Pythagoras' formulation: justice is the sound of the lyre; injustice brings out the drums; and the rule of tyrants is like unto a symphony of banjos.

courts can't stop the rat. you can only beat one of those with another giant rat.

Hence the phrase, "No justice, no peace."

...which sounds like a good slogan for every terrorist group.

This is the kind of thing that makes most people hate unions - the belief that they are not subject to the same laws everyone else must respect.

I'm sensitive to obnoxious noise, and so are other people. So, if the guy next door to me has a beef witH some damned union, I have no recourse and just have to suck it up until the union decides it's happy?

No.

Good for the NY Court of Appeals.

It's called the right to peaceful protest. Just because you don't like unions is no reason to give them less free speech than pissed off cab drivers honking, or buskers, or any of the other people contributing to the din on the streets of New York.

Taxi drivers ( or any other motorists ) do not have the right to honk horns other than to avert danger. They're violating the law every time the honk to express annoyance, etc.

That's another law that needs to be enforced more.

"This is the kind of thing that makes most people hate unions - the belief that they are not subject to the same laws everyone else must respect."

I'm not sure most people do hate unions, but of that group many have completely different opinions regarding wealth and power- any attempt to subject those sections of society to laws or regulation is dangerous and an affront to civilization. Lacking a monarch or an aristocratic tradition, the American conservative is forced to exercise his impulse to hierachy and submission in the service of the military, the police, and the heroes of Capitalism, with results you can see everywhere you turn these days. The REAL problem with unions is that they're just so damn impudent.

More working people than you think hate unions even more than they hate their bosses. And, oh my god that's saying something.

It's neither conservative nor is it liberal not to want to be bothered by a racket all day for days on end. Its a matter of respect for the rights of others, which this union does not have. Like some judge said, my right to extend my arm ends where your face begins or whatever.

If you're a pissed off rich corporation, you can shove your message into everyone's face through billboards and radio and tv and paid spokespeople and paid full color advertorials and lobbyists, and paid street teams (who never seem to get arrested for postering and fliering that would earn your average politically minded citizen a summons, if not a night in jail), and, and...

If you're a group of aggrieved service workers, you don't have all those options to draw attention to your cause. You've got coffee cans and other unamplified percussion.

It is liberal to want to level the playing field in terms of free expression.

I don't like noise either, but if the workers are raising a ruckus, I'm as apt to ask why the management is won't make a deal with their employees to shut them up. What have they done to make these people feel like they're not being heard to the point that they have to take their protests to the street? Your average person would much rather be working for a fair wage than rattling a coffee can in the street.

Well, perhaps it's just the way that I see things, but I'd have a bit more respect for the judges opinion if it was more along the lines of:

"drumming only between 8AM and 6PM weekdays, only in front of the business, and keep it below 80dB"

Time, place, and manner.


Hence the phrase, "No justice, no peace."
...which sounds like a good slogan for every terrorist group.

It also would have made a perfectly suitable slogan for the men who founded this country, Alon. But I wouldn't compare the union activists (who I support) to the Founding Fathers, because that would be silly. Almost as silly as comparing them to terrorists. A little perspective is in order here.

And what Snarki said.

American conservative is forced to exercise his impulse to hierachy and submission in the service of the military, the police, and the heroes of Capitalism

Right, except that people in Britain were just as pissed at the unions until Thatcher came along, and people in France are even more pissed at the unions. Nor is this some fringe belief - American moderates tend to be anti-union. (And that's in

If you're a pissed off rich corporation, you can shove your message into everyone's face through billboards and radio and tv and paid spokespeople and paid full color advertorials and lobbyists, and paid street teams (who never seem to get arrested for postering and fliering that would earn your average politically minded citizen a summons, if not a night in jail), and, and...

I wonder how many of the communists who post "NYPD: guilty! Capitalism: guilty!" fliers all over Harlem have been arrested.

If you're a pissed off rich corporation, you can shove your message into everyone's face through billboards and radio and tv and paid spokespeople and paid full color advertorials and lobbyists, and paid street teams (who never seem to get arrested for postering and fliering that would earn your average politically minded citizen a summons, if not a night in jail), and, and...

If you're a group of aggrieved service workers, you don't have all those options to draw attention to your cause. You've got coffee cans and other unamplified percussion.

It is liberal to want to level the playing field in terms of free expression.

But allowing drumming doesn't level the playing field--beating on a tin can is not the equivalent of billboards, radio and television ads. Are you saying that the principle that their should be a level playing field in terms on free expression requires that unions should be allowed to create a nuisance that doesn't redress the inequality? And what about a business that isn't a rich corporation--should a small, struggling enterprise be allowed to violate noise abatement requirements in attempt to give them a voice equal to its competitors that can afford legal advertising strategies?

And of course there are unions that can afford mass media advertising, lobbyists, et al. Are you saying that unions should be allowed to drum, but only after they've opened their financial records and proved that they can't afford alternative methods of spreading their message?

Snarki does make a reasonable point

Windows open, allowing the meadow-fresh air and gentle chirping of nature's little creatures to filter through their ever-pleasant workspaces, you couldn't begrudge the people in these Manhattan offices for complaining about the union drumming.

What? They didn't?

Well then, how did this happen?

Sorry, I'm inclined to support the ban. People should be able to work in peace if their company is not the specific target of the union protests. I do think that they should have access to billboards without restriction, though. That is, advertisers should be compelled to run ads for anyone that puts up the money. The problem with that is that the wingnuts have a stranglehold on the definition of obscenity. There should be a central, democratically accountable board for making such decisions: they should be out of the hands of media companies.

File this under "I kid you not:"

My husband once ran for mayor of NYC, on a NO BONGOS
platform.

(I know, I'm dating myself, and my husband, but anyway...)

He got two votes, one was him voting for himself. The other vote was from his campaign manager.

If only he had been an award-winning writer, he'd have been Norman Mailer.

Yeah - that's what he always says.

Hey, I see Phantom is still around here. Nice to provide a platform for a Raghead-bashing bigot prickbreath, Lindsay, way to go.

The comments to this entry are closed.