Unions lambast Supreme Court decision to hear mandatory union fee case

Sunday, 01 Oct, 2017

They worry that some workers will be tempted to break with the union rather pay for representation.

Since taking office, the Governor has waged a very public fight against AFSCME, arguing they are the creators of a "corrupt bargain" with public officials by using union dues to help get them elected, and then having those same officials negotiate contracts with lavish pay and benefit increases.

Public unions and worker advocates characterize challenges to fair-share fees as attacks on working people's ability to act collectively.

"I believe we're going to win".

"I am in complete agreement with this is a wonderful day for us... it brings tears to my eyes", Harbert said.

In an interview in August, Hartnett took a similar tack.

The court's decision is due by June.

Teachers' union leaders are well aware this is likely to happen, and fully admit that they are anxious. Union membership in the US declined to just 10.7 percent of the workforce previous year, and the ranks of private-sector unions have been especially hard hit.

Jacob Huebert, litigation director at the Liberty Justice Center - which represents Janus - said his client has a First Amendment right to support or not support political organizations.

Public employee unions are obligated to represent an entire unit of similarly situated workers, including nonmembers.

And if this case unfolds as expected, the widespread conservative belief that Donald Trump's impact on the federal courts outweighs numerous less fortunate aspects of his presidency will gain strength.

"Unions have - and always will be - the best vehicle working people have to take a stand against the wealthy and powerful who have rigged the economy in their favor". Though unions have tended to avoid it because of the loss of power and control it entails, even some on the left have grown to see its advantages in a world where traditional unionization is on the decline. "I'm anxious", he said. Justice Scalia's replacement, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, has voted consistently with the court's more conservative members and is likely to supply a fifth vote against the unions. Conservatives who rely on voluntary contributions can not begin to match the enormous revenues the teachers' unions extract by force from people who are legally compelled to pay them. By contrast, only 6.4 percent of private-sector workers are in unions.

The U.S. Supreme Court will again wade into the question of whether public sector worker unions can force government employees who don't wish to join their union to still pay fees, ostensibly for collective bargaining representation.

Public sector employees' union membership averages 17 percent in states that ban mandatory fees compared with 49 percent in states, such as OR, that allow mandatory fees, according to the research by the social scientists who wrote in support of the California Teachers Association. The other 28 states have "right to work" laws that forbid requiring workers to join or support a union.

Another Illinois child protection worker, who is, unlike Janus, a union supporter, also weighed in: "This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of my colleagues and I to speak up to ensure that we can safely and adequately manage our caseloads, which reflects our commitment to safety and public service to our communities", said Stephen Mitton, a member of AFSCME Council 31. Unions worry that their political agenda will have to conform more closely with the views of all their members in order to keep people paying.