Four Associations File Amici Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Lower Court Ruling on Compensation for Clothes-Changing Time

Washington, DC, July 26, 2013 – Four meat and poultry associations today filed an Amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court urging the court to uphold a lower court decision that permitted collective bargaining agreements (CBA) to address compensation for clothes-changing time.

The associations include the American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and North American Meat Association.

The brief was filed in support of a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as well as several other appellate courts, that “affirms the long-established customs, practices, and expressly bargained-for CBA provisions of Amici members and their employees.”  Plaintiffs in Clifton Sandler, et. al. v. United States Steel Corporation are seeking to overturn the ruling.

In encouraging the Supreme Court to uphold the Seventh Circuit’s decision the associations contend that the decision is “fully in accord with the expressed intent of Congress in passing Section 203(o) that deference be given to the collective bargaining process. If the decision below is reversed, the rights of amici members and their represented workers to bargain and reach agreement on clothes-changing time would be adversely affected.”

According to the brief, if the Seventh Circuit’s decision is overturned, employers and their workers would be deprived of the benefits struck through collective bargaining on this issue.

“A reversal would ignore Congress’ express intent in Section 203(o) to reserve the issue of FLSA compensability for clothes-changing time to collective bargaining for represented workers,” they wrote.   “The uncertainty, confusion and undesirable policy that would ensue would adversely affect Amici members and their represented workers by destroying the carefully-crafted compromises and long-established practices on compensability of clothes-changing time that have been achieved through the collective bargaining process.”

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