Rag Radio: Legal Scholar Julius Getman: Why Labor Law Is Failing American Workers

Getman examines the reactionary role of the Supreme Court towards union organizing.

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Julius Getman

Thorne Dreyer’s guest on Rag Radio is Julius G. Getman, a labor law scholar and an emeritus professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of several books, including The Supreme Court on Unions: Why Labor Law Is Failing American Workers and The Betrayal of Local 14: Paperworkers, Politics and Permanent Replacements, both from Cornell University Press.

Labor unions and courts have rarely been allies. From their earliest efforts to organize, unions have been confronted with hostile judges and anti-union doctrines. In “The Supreme Court on Unions,” Julius Getman argues that, while the role of the Supreme Court has become more central in shaping labor law, its opinions betray a profound ignorance of labor relations along with a persisting bias against unions. Getman critically examines the decisions of the nation’s highest court in those areas that are crucial to unions and the workers they represent: organizing, bargaining, strikes, and dispute resolution.

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Julius Getman, center, with Rag Radio’s Tracey Schulz, Thorne Dreyer.
Photo by Roger Baker.

In a CNN op-ed entitled “Workers hurt by SCOTUS anti-union bias,” Getman wrote:

“The anger of working-class whites is generally seen as having fueled the rise of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. But what has been largely overlooked is the relationship between white working-class anger, racial animosity, and the demise of unions.



“When unions were powerful, collective bargaining produced high wages, regular wage increases, and decent working conditions for millions of workers. Union members were an important element of society, and their political education programs were able to act as a barrier to demagogues spouting divisive populist rhetoric… Many factors have played a role in the demise of unions, but the anti-union holdings of the Supreme Court have been among the most significant.”

ragradio250x250Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: ragradio@koop.org.

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