Congrats, Graniterock

From Graniterock, a California-based supplier construction building materials and civil engineering contractor, a new release welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday in Granite Rock Co. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

WATSONVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in Granite Rock Company v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters & Teamsters Local 287 on Thursday morning. The Court confirmed Graniterock’s jury verdict against Local 287 and refused to dismiss the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from the case, leaving Graniterock several options to pursue claims against the International. The Court’s decision was unanimous concerning the International. The Court’s confirmation of Graniterock’s jury verdict was issued on a 7 – 2 vote.

The National Association of Manufacturers has joined in an amicus brief in support of the company. The brief and a summary of the case is available at the NAM’s Manufacturing Law Center entry. There are several separate issues involved, so we’ll defer again to the company’s release:

The Court upheld Graniterock’s 2008 jury verdict against Local 287, turning away the union’s argument that the decision should have been made by an arbitrator rather than the jury.

On the second issue, the Court held that federal law does not provide a shield for an international union that uses its influence over a local union to injure an employer. While the Court declined to recognize a new federal tort cause of action, the Court stated this “does not mean that we approve of the IBT’s alleged actions.” Accordingly, the Court held that Graniterock may still seek its damage claims from the 2004 strike. The Court described several avenues that Graniterock could pursue against the International.

The 2004 strike has already been determined to have been unlawful by the National Labor Relations Board, a decision that was affirmed by a court of appeal. Graniterock’s attorneys labeled the International’s conduct “extortion” during oral argument before the high Court. As the Court stated in the Opinion, “Graniterock describes a course of conduct that does indeed seem to strike at the heart of the collective bargaining process federal labor laws were designed to protect.”

Graniterock is seeking significant strike cost reimbursement, including back pay for Team Members.

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