Labor unions risk losing funds in Supreme Court case

As labor rallies happened across the area and the state, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement Monday in favor of unions and said the case before the Supreme Court will take the state backward.

Mark Janus is plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME.

"What it effectively does is allow for people to freeload off the system", she said. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), unions will continue to work on behalf of all employees, but he acknowledges the move would mean a big blow to union revenue streams.

According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics about union affiliation for 2017, 723,000 of Pennsylvania's 5.5 million workers were represented by a union, 665,000 of them being actual union members, equal to 12 percent of the workforce.

Robert Alt, the president and CEO of the Columbus-based think tank The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy, disagreed. He argues that the First Amendment protects him from having to support such political expression.

Martilynne Middleton, a business agent for Services Employees International Union, said employees can voluntarily donate a portion of their salaries for political purposes to the union's bipartisan Committee on Political Education.

"This is changing law that has been established law for 41 years", Hebert said.

The case, Janus v. It is very likely that the political strength of Californias public sector unions will diminish if public employees no longer have to pay dues.

Alt said Janus is required, however, to pay fees.

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"The fundamental issue is my right to choice", Janus said Monday. It's the Koch Brothers, it's the National Right-To-Work Defense Fund, which is funded by billionaires who have a sole desire to see unions go away.

Conservative anti-union interests are backing an IL government employee who says that being forced to pay anything at all violates his First Amendment speech rights. "And so if you were to overrule Abood, you can raise an untold specter of labor unrest throughout the country".

"It was argued, it was scheduled to be decided, and Justice Scalia died", Hebert explained.

But the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia the following month left the court with an even split of conservatives and liberals, and its 4-4 decision in March 2016 failed to settle the legal question. Unions strongly opposed Gorsuch's nomination by President Donald Trump. Without the power to enforce fees on non-members, unions could be substantially weakened because there would be a strong incentive for employees to free-ride and not pay the fees - ultimately undermining the benefits of collective bargaining. While 28 states have so-called right-to-work laws that prohibit mandatory agency fees, Wisconsin and MI have exceptions for police officers and firefighters that permit agency fees covering those workers. There is a direct correlation, she said, between her union's ability to negotiate and what happens in OH classrooms.

"If I saw their representation as a benefit, I could agree with that, but I don't", Friedrichs said.

"When you compel somebody to speak, don't you infringe that person's dignity and conscience in a way that you do not when you restrict what the person says?" But only 28 states are right to work.

Unions that represent government workers say eliminating the fees requirement would gut unions.

Fair-share agency fees for public service unions were legalized in the 1970's in the Abood versus the Detroit Teachers case.

  • Darren Santiago