Business and Economics

Supreme Court Hears Gary Steelworkers Clothing Case

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November 4, 2013 — The definition of clothing could soon be decided by the United States Supreme Court thanks to a group of Gary steel workers.

Lawyers representing about 800 steel workers presented their case today in Washington D.C.

The lawsuit, Clifton Sandifer et al. v. United States Steel Corporation, argues that the special protective equipment mill workers must wear is different from standard clothing and that workers should be compensated for time spent putting on and taking off that gear.

The labor union for the workers, the United Steelworkers of America, is not participating in the suit.

According to Chief Justice John Roberts, who grew up in the Region as a 1973 LaPorte LaLumiere Academy graduate, the absence of the union from the lawsuit “does seem to support the notion that this is something that should be left to the collective bargaining process.”

Concerns about creating overly specific definitions of clothing were raised by justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Some experts believe the lawsuit could have implications for a wide variety of industries.

A final ruling in the case is expected to take about another month.


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