State Watch

Unions sue in bid to represent Connecticut National Guard members

Labor unions filed a lawsuit on Monday to challenge a federal statute that makes it a felony for members of the armed forces to participate in union activities or to support labor organizing in their ranks. 

The suit is specifically intended to win collective bargaining rights for members of the Connecticut National Guard.

The four Connecticut unions involved in the lawsuit, which was filed against Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice, seek to clarify that the statute “does not apply to labor organizing involving members of the Connecticut National Guard when serving on state active duty,” according to the complaint.

According to a release from the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, which is representing the unions, if they win their case, they would be permitted to support National Guard members in organizing. That opportunity is already available to the other state employees with whom the unions work.

“While serving under the command of the Governor and pursuant to state law, Guard members work alongside other state and local employees. Yet unlike firefighters, healthcare workers, law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, and other state and local employees, members of the Connecticut National Guard have no labor organization that can represent them or advocate for their interests when in state status,” the complaint says.

The unions involved in the case include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4, the Connecticut Police and Fire Union, the National Association of Government Employees, and the Civil Service Employees International Union Local 2001.

They are represented by the clinic and the law firm of Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly PC.

The Hill has reached out to the Connecticut National Guard and to the labor unions for comment.

Tags Connecticut connecticut national guard Merrick Garland Union

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