Jackson Lewis is a law firm with a notorious reputation for union-busting. The firm represents employers in labor disputes, lawsuits, and other matters related to unions, and its clients are often large corporations that seek to prevent or dismantle labor unions. Some of these clients include Google, Amazon, and the numerous universities and colleges.
One of the most well-documented cases of Jackson Lewis' anti-unionism is their efforts to prevent unionization among graduate students, adjunct professors, and other campus workers. According to a CounterPunch article published in 2019, Jackson Lewis has been hired by dozens of universities to conduct anti-union campaigns, including Ohio State University, Penn State University, and the University of Connecticut. The firm has also been involved in high-profile cases, such as the successful effort to defeat the graduate student unionization drive at Harvard University.
In 2020, The Intercept reported that Biden had received donations from Jackson Lewis attorneys and had employed the firm during his tenure as vice president to fight a union organizing drive by TSA screeners. Biden's association with Jackson Lewis drew criticism from labor unions and progressive organizations, who argued that it undermined his credibility as a champion of workers' rights.
According to The Conversation, Jackson Lewis is part of a network of "labor-busting law firms and consultants" that operate across the country and help employers resist unionization efforts. These firms often rely on a range of tactics, such as hiring anti-union "persuaders," conducting captive-audience meetings, and launching legal challenges to union certification. The firms have been successful in preventing unions from forming or expanding in many workplaces, especially in industries such as tech, healthcare, and education.
An undercover report by Left Voice details how Jackson Lewis used tactics such as "scare tactics," "delay and deny" strategies, and "divide and conquer" techniques to undermine union support among workers at a healthcare facility in Pennsylvania. The report also alleged that the firm worked closely with management to surveil and intimidate pro-union employees.
In addition, Jackson Lewis has been accused of using aggressive tactics to intimidate and undermine unions, including engaging in surveillance, spreading misinformation, and even firing workers who seek to organize. The firm's success in preventing unions from forming or expanding highlights the challenges facing workers who seek to organize in an environment that is often hostile to unions. As LeverNews reported, the firm's tactics can create a climate of fear and intimidation among workers, making it difficult for them to exercise their rights to organize and bargain collectively.
OneZero reported in 2020 that the firm's attorneys use coded language and appeals to identity politics to undermine the credibility of union organizers, especially those who are working to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By portraying unions as divisive and hostile to diversity, Jackson Lewis seeks to sow division among workers and discourage them from joining a union.
Jackson Lewis is a law firm that has earned a reputation as a leading union busting firm, representing employers in labor disputes, lawsuits, and other matters related to unions. The firm has been accused of using aggressive tactics to intimidate and undermine unions, including engaging in surveillance, spreading misinformation, and even firing workers who seek to organize. The firm's success in preventing unions from forming or expanding highlights the challenges facing workers who seek to organize in an environment that is often hostile to unions.
Published April 18, 2023