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Labor unions cannot use provisions of the National Labor Relations Act to try to shield themselves from taking “reasonable precautions” to protect an employer’s property from damage caused by a sudden strike, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The decision will make it easier for employers to recover property damages they suffer incidental to a strike.

The High Court overturned lower court rulings in a case that dates to 2017, when a work stoppage by 16 truck drivers for ready-mix concrete supplier Glacier Northwest, doing business as CalPortland, resulted in the spoilage of 16 loads of cement. According to Glacier, the drivers were in cahoots with International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local No. 174 while collective bargaining negotiations were taking place. The union claimed that the 16 drivers left their trucks running so that the company could dispose of the concrete and that it was the company that allowed the concrete to spoil.

“Admittedly, this case may have less impact in the healthcare industry because Section 8(g) of the NLRA requires advance notice of any work stoppage, thereby eliminating the sudden and unanticipated work stoppages that occur in other industries,” Joshua D. Nadreau, a partner and labor and employment litigation attorney in the Boston office of Fisher Phillips, told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

The Supreme Court’s decision, he added, could temper unions’ actions in striking as “they will have to consider the likelihood of facing a claim in state court should they fail to take reasonable precautions to avoid property destruction.”

And according to Nadreau, the ruling is “welcome news” for employers that have suffered property damage during a union strike.

“Practically speaking, the decision will make it easier for employers to seek relief in state courts versus having to file claims at the union-friendly [National Labor Relations Board],” he said.

Writing for the minority, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that the ruling “is likely to cause considerable confusion among the lower courts” about how the NLRA should apply in future cases and that it “risks erosion of the right to strike.”