Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Public Sector Unions in Turmoil After High Court Rules They Can’t Force Non-Union Workers to Pay Fees

supreme court pay fees union taxes publicWASHINGTON, DC – The world of organized labor is in turmoil in the aftermath of the June 27th Supreme Court decision banning public sector unions from collecting fees from non-union workers.  Attorney Mark J. Neuberger, who specializes in employment law at the firm of Foley & Lardner, says the ruling was “a stunning blow to public sector unions.”

Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], said the court’s action has negative implications for the ability of public sector unions to fund political campaigns going forward.  “I don’t believe the ruling is a death blow, but it can have the effect of putting a limit on impact of union political power.”

In California, The National Right to Work Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the state’s largest public employee union, SEIU Local 1000, seeking the return of $100 million it collected from some 40,000 workers over the years.  The suit claims that the union used “burdensome” opt-out procedures to collect the fees that were outlawed by the high court.

Meanwhile, New York State is taking measures to stop collecting “agency shop fees” from some 31,000 non-union state workers.  And, groups opposed to state employee unions, are targeting “two groups: new public employees and disenfranchised or disinterested members vacillating on whether they want to join and pay dues,” according to a report at the local news Web site, lohud.com.

“Similar activities aimed at curtailing the political power of unions have been increasing throughout the U.S. since the Supreme Court handed down its decision,” Weber notes.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees No 16-1466, which declared the “procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue.  Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a non-member’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

Weber says “One thing is for sure: public sector unions will have less money in their coffers to support the election of Democrats at all levels of government.  In addition, unions such as the all-powerful teachers’ unions may find it harder to recruit and keep members.  The incentive to join or remain in a union is weakened If a worker can benefit from a union’s activities, such as collective bargaining, without having to pay the union.”

Attorney Neuberger says “the Janus decision reinforces a right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, that people should be able to decide which organizations they want to join (and fund) and which they don’t.”

The blowback from the unions – the teachers’ unions, in particular – was fast and furious.  That was to be expected.  But, some individual teachers applauded the Supreme Court action.

Madeline Will, who writes for Education Week, reported in her online Blog, Teacher Beat, that “Ryan Yohn, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher in Westminster, Calif., said the ruling felt like a ‘14-year-old dark cloud that’s been over my head has lifted.’  Yohn, along with other teachers, filed an amicus brief in the Janus case arguing that he shouldn’t be forced to pay union dues to an entity he doesn’t support… Every worker in America should at least be comforted.  They have an option now, they have an out, and that means the unions will have to be more accountable [to them].”

Weber reports that there is evidence the most powerful teachers’ union, the National Education Association, which is considered to be the largest labor union in the U.S., is expected to be a big loser as a result of the Janus decision.  “The NEA might lose some 300,000 or more members and the ruling might cost the union $50 million or more.”

 

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Donald Mccormick
2 years ago

I did mot think the federal union was a good idea because they already had a government bureaucrats that did the same thing only it was already installed in the government and was working fine.
the only real thing the union got out of their government connection was a LOT more members to pay into their bank accounts and thus more power to change laws to suit their needs.
With the government connection they had offices and members and little outlay of funds and only a huge increase of money for them to use to gain huge power influence and could use the existing bureaucrats to do their work and just collect their members money to use for their own usage.

Scottar
3 years ago

Woops, the milk wagon just hit a rut and lost some of it’s load.

Gary
3 years ago

Shut the unions down. They have outlived their usefulness and are now just a gaggle of greedy liberal extremists.

Buddy
3 years ago

JFK signed an “executive order” in 1962 that allowed government employees to join unions.

https://www.flra.gov/resources-training/resources/statute-and-regulations/statute/short-history-statute

For those of you (i.e. Clark Kent, “Stupid Man”) who think unions are so “great”, need to look up “the Enmons Decision”.

During a coal strike, Eddie York was hired to haul coal across picket lines.
Jerry Lowe, one of the striking coal miners, shot at and killed Eddie York, husband and sole provider for two minor children.
Because of the “Enmons Decision”, local, state nor federal officers were allowed to arrest or charge Jerry Lowe for the cold blooded murder of Eddie York.
Lowe eventually turned himself in and pled guilty to some minor Federal charge of “interrupting interstate commerce” and was given a suspended sentence.
Lowe could not be charged with murder because the violence was to protect his “union job”!

I just love a T.H.U.G.!
Those Helpful Union Guys!

Mr. Kent.
Your analogy comparing clubs, church’s and credit unions to labor unions as a “freedom of association” is stupid, stupid, stupid.
The union I paid dues to had no “freedom of association”!
You belonged to the union and paid dues or the company terminated you at the unions behest!
Union officials sat in A/C, heated offices, getting fat off union dues while I sweated or froze depending on the weather to earn a meager living. They were off nights, weekends and holidays.
I worked nights, weekends, holidays and birthdays.
I worked in blazing heat, hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes. Union officials sat at home in cushy comfort, living off the money they taxed me for my job.

I own several guns, I don’t need cops. I can protect myself.

DO NOT give me your “freedom of association” bull feces!

TheUglyTruth
3 years ago

To be in a union is to condone socialism, whether or not you believe in that political system. The ruling will make a dent in the treasury of various unions diluting some ability to buy politicians and run pro union ads. Other than that the unions will continue on as per usual.

Buddy
3 years ago
Reply to  TheUglyTruth

Ugly, but true!

HAP
3 years ago

CLARK KENT: From your comments I’m not sure you understand the basis of the Supreme Court ruling. It’s not about FREE ASSOCIATION as you keep mentioning or free choice.

Buddy
3 years ago
Reply to  HAP

Clark Kent has never had to go to a “union hall” (IBEW) to sign up for work.
A friend of mine was an IBEW membe. Everybody was getting work except him.
One of the older heads told him as long as he was wearing Levi (non-union) jeans, they would not let him work.
He changed to Wranglers (union made) and never missed another days work.

Dorothy
3 years ago

About time. Unions have been bullying people, members and non-members alike, in a show of unfettered dictatorial force. Bill of Rights? Who? Us? We don’t care. We have unlimited power to take away your money or else cause you to lose your job, so shut up and pay, peons! Or, if you refuse to join our union, then you can’t even apply to work at this place!

This kind of ugly concentrated power is another Child of the Swamp. . .

Steve
3 years ago

I’m for anything that weakens the liberals and left-wingers. After what they have forced on me for over forty years, they are getting a dose of their own medicine.

Bob
3 years ago

I was a teacher for 20 years after previously working as an engineer in industry (outside the realm of a union). I honestly and thoroughly enjoyed teaching chemistry to students in my classes for 20 years, and still miss the opportunity to instruct and guide my students in the greatest Republic on the planet. Nevertheless, during my first few weeks as a teacher I was emphatically told it was a necessity to join the teacher’s union and pay dues from my meager salary; although I had 24 years of industry experience behind me, I was placed at the “starting salary as a science teacher” (at the age of 49). I was informed that even if I elected to “not join the teachers union” I was still required to pay ~90% of the annual dues, since I benefitted from the union bargaining efforts afforded to every other teacher in my school. Each election I was outraged that my dues were always used to support a member of the political party for which I did NOT choose to support, and when literature was published and distributed regarding the two candidates, my party’s position were often negatively represented. So, although I retired last June, 2017, I was please to see my fellow Republican teachers (although very few in number in the public school system) would be relieved from the oppressive annual drain in their salary for a Union we received little or no direct benefit from.

Scottar
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Union rules are often a bitch or bastardization of the working environment.

Brian
3 years ago

SEIU (IMHO) is the Devil’s (dba George Soros) tool. It is the heart(less) and soul(less) (rotten)core of the radical Demoncrats push to destroy America.

Pat R
3 years ago

Finally fair and reasonable decisions, and so long overdue. Thank you SCOTUS.

Miloxo Hondo
3 years ago

I have never understood why Government employees NEED a Union. The concept of Unions was formed in the Robber Baron days. How ruthless can a government job boss be that the Union needs to protect the worker? This is just something the private-sector unions started to get more dues money to give to the democrat party.

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Miloxo Hondo

Do you understand why Government employees need the right to FREE ASSOCIATION just like every other group/association/club/etc.?

Buddy
3 years ago
Reply to  Clark Kent

Unfortunately, union membership isn’t “free”. Public OR private.

Again, give us the association with a club and a labor union?

Scottar
3 years ago
Reply to  Miloxo Hondo

And the Dems advocate- you need us to live.

Rebecca
3 years ago

It’s about time! At one time unions actually benefitted employees, but when they got involved in politics they became just another greedy, crooked entity.

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Not all of them, amigo. Generalize much?

Tom Cruise
3 years ago

If they don’t want to join the union then the union should not be required to represent them and the union should only bargain for union members in regard to wages and benefits.let the non union people fend for themselves. Dues are a small price to pay for a secure job with good benefits.

Dave
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Cruise

Even better, BAN ALL UNIONS, and let EVERYONE be paid based on their experience and qualifications???

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave

So we should BAN the right of FREE ASSOCIATION and let NO ONE join any sort of club/group/organization? THINK before you post, Dan.

ONTIME
3 years ago

Joining the union should be a choice, the private sector unions look to be mismanaged and alienate membership with their political antics and I am glad to see the closed shop gone, you do not need to pay a union to keep your job……Government unions are illegal, they are a special interest, they are political and they intrude on the management of government….the cost of government is considerably higher and ties the hands of management for hiring and firing…BAN ALL GOVERNMENT UNIONS….There is no Constitutional precedent for the inclusion of special interest….

Ivan Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  ONTIME

And they do not “bargain” with the owners or bosses for whom they work, the people, but with other employees that work for us, the heads of departments and supervisors. This just allows the workers to run the show with little or no oversite from those that pay their wages.

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  ONTIME

Ever hear of the right to FREE ASSOCIATION, buddy? Take a Civics 101 class.

Barbara
3 years ago
Reply to  Clark Kent

What about my right to NOT associate with the evil, corrupt Demoncrat party? As a teacher for almost 30 years, I had “rep fees” deducted every month from my paycheck, against my will. That money was sent on to the NEA and given to the Demoncrat party.

Buddy
3 years ago

“…It is appropriate in the private sector, where workers bargain with private, profit-making corporations, NOT the tax paying citizenry – and where market forces provide an independent check on both sides demands. In the public sector, however, it means higher cost, lower efficiency and, worst of all, less democracy. …”

Unions have no place in the public sector.

In the 1930’s, the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organization) came together to form the very powerful AFL-CIO.
The VERY first president of the organization was George Meany.
Both George Meany and FDR agreed that unions should not be allowed in the public sector.
JFK, in the 1960’s, signed an act allowing public sector employees to join unions.

It’s time public sector unions went. Bye bye!”.

JMNSHO!

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Buddy

So there went ‘bye-bye’ to your bridge club, church membership or your credit union. All based upon the right to FREE ASSOCIATION. Grow up.

Buddy
3 years ago
Reply to  Clark Kent

Don’t play bridge. That’s non-sequitur.
Apparently, you don’t understand “public sector union”.
BTW! I’m curious.
Just what is the correlation between a bridge club, church membership, credit union and a labor union?
Curious mind’s want to know!

Aardvark
3 years ago

I applaud this decision and anxiously await the total banning of public sector unions in particular. The corruption will not end until people are not forced to pay a union to be able to work, and then see that union use their money to buy political favor from the very party you oppose. It’s like knowing our taxes are being giving to the ghouls at Planned Parenthood. I had to pay into two private sector unions and their pensions for 25 years. Both pensions are now in critical status and my pensions total $335 per month. Fortunately I run my own business so I don’t have to depend on that. Unions were started by organized crime, are still run by organized crime, and are funding the biggest organized crime syndicate in the world; the U.S. Democrat party including the RINO’s.

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Aardvark

So you want to ban the right to FREE ASSOCIATION? Good luck with that….

Ed Dowd
3 years ago

About time!

Sgt Ron
3 years ago

As a once proud member of a local union, I now see how this check on the common laborer by the rich company executives has become nothing more than a left wing political ploy. Union members did the job. Now with the laws safely in place to protect the worker, there is virtually no need for the union as it once was. The unions have become over the years politically controlled and politically corrupt. The time for the demise of this organization is now. Hopefully, management has learned an important lesson from the American worker, and as management they are willing to accommodate reasonable requests from those same loyal employees. Reasonable benefits and reasonable pay for the work which has to be done. The American worker on the other hand should and has to realize that he or she must do the very best job for the owner of a company or a corporation for whom they are employed.

Both sides need communication. For that communication to be just as important from bottom to top as it is from top to bottom. Communication is the key, and employers need to educate management that the importance of a great working relationship begins with the listening process. So, hopefully, the unions I see now will fade into the pages of history. If they ever need to be revised, it is my prayer that the potential members will have a stronger voice into the actual formation of the new organization. GOD BLESS ‘Um All
( workers and management )

Bob
3 years ago
Reply to  Sgt Ron

I applaud your words, and like you, hope and pray management will exercise its role as a fair and equitable trustee of the workers efforts and lend a willing ear to the honest needs expressed by those to faithfully serve their company.

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Sgt Ron

Speak for yourself and your union, buddy. You are totally off the mark concerning the union I belonged to.

Scottar
3 years ago
Reply to  Sgt Ron

What right to work laws achieve is to keep unions honest and accountable at least.

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

I don’t get how public workers are allowed to unionize anyway. When it comes time for negotiations, the ones paying for all these union benefits (that would be we taxpayers) don’t even have a seat at the table. Someone else who I don’t know is supposedly ‘negotiating’ on my behalf. Right . . .

Clark Kent
3 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Ever hear of the right to FREE ASSOCIATION? It applies to all U.S. citizens. P.S. Your ‘seat at the table’ is the politicians YOU elect.

Dorothy
3 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Public employee sector workers have an unparalleled level of job security not seen in the private sector and, because of this, should never be permitted to unionize. Part of the contract of government employment ought to be that joining a union for collective bargaining/striking against your employer is deemed to be an immediate resignation from your post. You would be terminated from your juicy, important job and put back on the street to find work amongst the “regular” people.

Buddy
3 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

JFK signed an executive order in 1962 that allowed government employees to join the union of their choice.
Until then, government employees were not allowed to join a “union”.

Does my heart good to think about Reagan firing all those air traffic controllers in the ’80’s for going out on strike. LOL!

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