This Week on Between The Lines

Posted June 22, 2011 for week ending July 1, 2011


U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Wal-Mart Gender Bias Class Action Lawsuit

"It doesn't close the door to class action litigation, but it does mean that plaintiffs will have to be much more precise in terms of challenging specific practices that have a discriminatory effect or that have some genesis in discrimination." -- Chris Owen, attorney and executive director of the National Employment Law Project

Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Wal-Mart Wins, Workers Lose in U.S. Supreme Court Decision Rejecting Class Action Discrimination Lawsuit

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Interview with Chris Owens, attorney and executive director of the National Employment Law Project, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


In a 5 to 4 decision on June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out an 11-year-old class action lawsuit filed against giant retailer Wal-Mart. The lawsuit represented several women plaintiffs claiming gender discrimination and potentially represented 1.5 million female Wal-Mart workers nationwide. The major issue in the case was whether the lawsuit satisfied a requirement of the class-action rules that “there are questions of law or fact common to the class” filing the suit. The conservative majority on the court ruled it did not.  Story continues

After Court Reinstates Wisconsin Anti-Union Law, Activists Organize for Summer State Senate Recall Elections

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Interview with Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, conducted by Scott Harris


Enormous pro-labor protests were organized over a succession of weeks earlier this year, challenging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s legislative agenda to strip public sector unions of most of their collective bargaining rights. Even though Wisconsin unions had agreed to all of Gov. Walker’s proposed salary, health insurance and pension cuts to address the state’s $137 million budget gap, Walker refused to back down. When all 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats left the state in order to deny the GOP majority a quorum, the Republicans voted and passed the anti-union bill, in what critics charged was a violation of the state’s open meeting law. In May, Judge Maryann Sumi agreed, and ruled that GOP lawmakers had violated the state statute on open meetings in their haste to pass the bill.  Story continues

U.S. Boat to Join International Flotilla Challenging Israeli Gaza Blockade

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Interview with Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy, conducted by Scott Harris


Last May, the Israeli military assaulted a flotilla of civilian ships in international waters carrying thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population of Gaza. The attack on one of the largest ships, the Turkish-flagged, "Mavi Marmara," resulted in nine dead, dozens injured and international protests against Israel’s use of deadly force against unarmed activists. Gaza has been subject to an Israeli blockade since the militant Palestinian party Hamas took control of the territory in June 2007 and rocket attacks were launched against nearby Israeli settlements. After the violence against the aid flotilla in 2010, Israel announced it would "liberalize" the blockade and allow a larger number of civilian goods and supplies to enter the territory.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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