Unions File Amicus Brief in Support of Atlanta Mayor’s Executive Order Requiring Face Coverings

On July 27, 2020, six labor unions—Southern Region Workers United; Service Employees International Union; Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union Local 42; International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 528; and Communications Workers of America Local 3204—filed an amicus brief in Kemp v. Bottoms, the lawsuit brought by the Governor of Georgia against the Mayor of Atlanta and Atlanta’s City Councilmembers that seeks to enjoin the Mayor’s order requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Atlanta.  The unions’ brief explains how, despite the fact that the pandemic continues to rage throughout Atlanta and Georgia, union members and other essential workers have continued to risk their health and lives by going to work each day to provide critical services essential to the economy; and how the Mayor’s masking requirement is necessary to ensure that workers and their families are not needlessly exposed to the virus when they interact with customers, their co-workers, and the public.

The union amici are represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP, together with Stanford Fagan LLC, Mary Joyce Carlson, Nicole Berner (Service Employees International Union General Counsel), Robert Molofsky (Amalgamated Transit Union, International, General Counsel), and Chris Bangs (Amalgamated Transit Union, International, Associate General Counsel).

You can read the unions’ amicus brief here.

Workers File Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination at Corporate-Owned McDonald’s Restaurant in Florida

On July 17, 2020, three current employees of the corporate-owned McDonald’s restaurant at 5525 Walt Loop Road in Lakeland, Florida filed a civil rights complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging that they were subjected to a racially hostile work environment, disparate treatment, and retaliation by McDonald’s.  Plaintiffs Monica Scott, Augusta Moody, and Faith Booker alleged, among other things, that their general manager made racist comments about Black people and subjected Black workers and customers to discriminatory treatment.  The lawsuit further alleges that the regional manager and a human resources representative notified about the discriminatory behavior failed to remedy the situation and that, after plaintiffs raised their concerns, they faced retaliation, including reduced hours.  Plaintiffs are represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP, Peter Helwig of Harris & Helwig, PA, and Mary Joyce Carlson.

Another District Court Rejects Attacks on Public Sector Unions Based on Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 (2018)

On July 15, 2020, in Creed v. Alaska State Employees Association/AFSCME Local 52, the District of Alaska dismissed claims by two former union members who alleged that their First Amendment rights were violated when their state employer deducted union membership dues that the plaintiffs themselves had agreed to pay in exchange for union membership rights and benefits.  The court’s decision is consistent with a decision in late 2019 from a state superior court in Alaska enjoining the Governor from making unilateral radical changes to union member dues deduction practices for State employees, and adds to the list of more than 20 federal and state courts that have rejected similar claims brought against public sector unions by conservative advocacy organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision in June 2018.

Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the union defendant in Creed and in many of those other cases.  The order granting the motion to dismiss can be found here.  Announcements about similar victories in other post-Janus cases can be found here, here and here.