ABC Michigan v. Abruzzo

Everyone has the right to free speech. That includes unions, workers, and business owners.

Everyone has the right to free speech. That includes unions, workers, and business owners. So when a union wants a business’s employees to unionize, it has the right to make its case to them, the employees have the right to discuss it among themselves, and their employer has the right to tell employees why a union might not be beneficial. That’s long been the law in the United States—not only under the First Amendment, but also under the National Labor Relations Act, which specifically protects employers’ right to talk to their employees about unions.

But Jennifer Abruzzo—the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board appointed by President Biden—says she’s changing that. Soon after taking her new job, Abruzzo issued a memo announcing that the NLRB will now consider it illegal for employers to talk to employees about unions at mandatory meetings—which they had always been allowed to do. That threat means employers will now keep their mouths shut if they want to avoid legal consequences.

The Liberty Justice Center has sued Abruzzo to challenge this violation of employers’ free-speech rights. LJC filed the case on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, a statewide trade association that represents businesses in the construction industry that believe in fair and open competition, free enterprise, workers’ freedom to choose whether to be part of a union or its training programs, balanced budgets, a fair taxation structure, and reasonable regulation.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, argues that Abruzzo’s new policy violates both the First Amendment and the NLRA.


Buck Dougherty

Buck Dougherty

Buck Dougherty is a Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, where he litigates in trial and appellate courts on behalf of everyday citizens in order to protect their civil liberties and preserve their constitutional rights.

Noelle Daniel

Noelle Daniel

Noelle Daniel is a staff attorney at Liberty Justice Center where she assists in cases to protect the rights to free speech, economic liberty, private property, and other Constitutional rights in courts across the country.

Case Press Releases

Case In The News

The Center Square
July 20, 2023

(The Center Square)–Judge Robert Jonker said he will issue a written opinion “soon” hinging on employer’s free speech rights. The Center Square reported that the Chicago-based nonprofit Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on March 16, 2023, on behalf of ABC Michigan, a statewide trade association that...

Attorney at Law Magazine
June 29, 2023

(Attorney at Law Magazine)—Jawboning is not a word in most people’s vocabulary, even those who are highly educated. The word looks menacing and sounds sinister. And in a sense, jawboning is both. Jawboning is when government officials publicly condemn certain legal behavior that they disfavor. It is the bully pulpit...

National Review
April 11, 2023

Jennifer Abruzzo, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has been called a “quiet hero” and an “activist championing the rights of workers from the inside” by the mainstream press. But these fawning tributes ignore the pernicious impact of her work. While she may profess pro-worker sympathies,...

The Center Square
March 17, 2023

(The Center Square)—Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, a statewide trade association, is suing the National Labor Relations Board general counsel over allegedly threatening to violate employer free-speech rights. The lawsuit says that Jennifer Abruzzo, NLRB general counsel and prosecutor, would abrogate employer First Amendment rights by using her authority...



ABC Michigan v. Abruzzo


March 16, 2023


U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan




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