Supreme Court Ruling Shows the System is Rigged—Against Workers!

Starbucks workers across the US have been organizing a union. Most have been active with Starbucks Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees Union (SEIU). So far, some 450 stores—out of more than 17,000—have voted to unionize. Starbucks has stalled negotiations and has not settled a contract with the workers.

Under pressure from the union campaign, Starbucks has used both carrots and sticks. To undercut workers’ unity, it offered better wages and benefits to non-union workers (though it recently extended this to union members). It has also taken action against a number of union activists, firing some of them, including seven employees in Memphis. The workers challenged their termination and won their case with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and in August 2022, a federal judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate them.

Now, on June 13, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the federal judge’s decision. Although the decision returned the case to a lower court, it could take years to work through the system, and in the meantime, the workers are out of a job.

This all shows yet again that while the judicial system is not rigged against Donald Trump, it is rigged against the workers. The entire legal system defends the right of the capitalist class to own the means of production and maintain its system of exploitation. During the productive process, workers create value with their labor. Some of this is paid in wages and benefits, but a lot more of it is surplus value, and this is the source of profits. Starbucks makes so much money, not because of its innovation or vision, but because it owns thousands of stores and exploits the labor of over 400,000 workers.

And it is not only Starbucks. According to Oxfam International, the richest 1% grabbed nearly two-thirds of all new wealth worth $42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much as the bottom 99% of the world’s population!

Like all laws, labor laws are designed to maintain these inequalities, and the courts, jails, and police exist to enforce them. The NLRB is an “independent” government agency completely under the control of the capitalists and their courts. If workers want to win, they must recognize and deal with this reality. History shows that the labor movement wins only when it does not rely on the laws and courts.

Workers fighting the bosses and their system should expect nothing less from the Supreme Court. Serious struggle involves learning the lessons of the past. The big union struggles of the 1930s were victorious only insofar as they mobilized the masses against the bosses and their state—almost always with the help of organized communist cadres.

The Revolutionary Communists of America is building a real communist party. This is the path forward. The larger we are, the more we will be connected to all sections of the class. This is the way to victory: first in the struggles in the workplace, and eventually, by establishing workers’ state and building a socialist society, which will lay the basis for ending exploitation once and for all.

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