Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174

Case Movement

Case Details

  • Case Status: Decided
  • Docket Number: 21-1449
  • Category: Labor Relations


Whether a company can sue a labor union for intentional property damage of the company’s property during a strike? A Washington Supreme Court decision held that the property damage claims in this case against the labor union were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.

June 15, 2022

The Restaurant Law Center filed a brief in support of Glacier Northwest, arguing that, for at least 40 years, SCOTUS has been clear that the NLRA does not immunize unions that intentionally destroy an employer’s property by preempting state law tort suits against them.

November 8, 2022

The Restaurant Law Center and co-amici filed another brief, arguing that preempting claims for the intentional destruction of property would leave employers without a remedy, encourage unlawful behavior and upset the careful balance of power between employers and employees. Furthermore, we argue that allowing the intentional destruction of employer property would harm local communities by barring them from prohibiting such activity — precisely the type of lawlessness that localities should be able to address and that state courts should be able to remedy.

June 1, 2023

The Supreme Court held that unions cannot intentionally destroy employer property without the potential of being held liable. In an 8 to 1 decision, the majority held that the National Labor Relations Act does not preempt state tort law, meaning companies can seek damages for the intentional destruction of their property even during labor disputes. The decision explained, “the Union executed the strike in a manner designed to compromise the safety of Glacier’s trucks and destroy its concrete . . . Because the Union took affirmative steps to endanger Glacier’s property rather than reasonable precautions to mitigate that risk, the NLRA does not arguably protect its conduct.”