Supreme Court Deals Major Blow to Public Sector Unions, Bans Mandatory Fees
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What’s the story?
- The Supreme Court dealt what’s being referred to as a “crippling," "sharp," and “major” blow to unions representing millions of the nation’s public employees.
- The 5-4 ruling, along party lines, says that public-sector unions cannot collect fees from non-members.
- "It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.
- In a fiery dissent, Justice Elena Kagan countered:
"The First Amendment was meant for better things. It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance—including over the role of public-sector unions."
- President Donald Trump tweeted that the ruling was a “big loss of the coffers of the Democrats!”
Why does it matter?
- The ruling is expected to sharply diminish the negotiating power of unions, which has already been in a steady decline.
- A recent non-partisan study predicted that were SCOTUS to reach the ruling they did today, it would eventually cause public employee unions to lose around 726,000 members.
- "By requiring unions to represent everyone in a collective bargaining unit without ensuring fair contributions for that representation, unions will be forced to do more with much less — to the detriment of those they represent," said Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union member and former union lawyer.
"The decision today is the latest blow in a decades-long, nationwide effort by conservatives to bust unions that advocate for workers and protect them from employer abuses."
What do you think?
Do you agree with the majority opinion or the dissent? Should non-members have to pay for a union they don’t belong to? Have you even been forced to pay dues to a union you didn’t belong to? Is today’s decision about the First Amendment or “union busting”? Hit Take Action and tell you reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: sframephoto / iStock)
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