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Connecticut labor unions are suing the federal government for bargaining rights for the National Guard

Connecticut National Guard adds bed capacity at Connecticut Convention Center
Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker
103rd Airlift Wing
Soldiers and Airmen from the Connecticut National Guard set up field hospital beds at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut on April 11, 2020. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

A murky federal law prevents members of the military from unionizing. Now, labor unions in Connecticut have sued the government to challenge that law so they can represent troops in the National Guard.

The Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic represents four labor unions who are suing the federal government over a Vietnam-era law that makes it a crime for service members to unionize.

The unions said the law should not apply to members of the Connecticut National Guard when they are mobilized by the governor on state orders. Those missions include responding to natural disasters or labor shortages where Guardsmen usually serve alongside unionized civilian workers.

If they’re successful, Connecticut National Guard troops could be the first in the country to get collective bargaining rights while on state active duty.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.