Key voice silent in unions case

Key voice silent in unions case

After Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker restricted public-employee unions in the state, the rate of unionization fell by 6 percentage points and teachers' salaries dropped by an average of $10,000.

"The Janus case is an attack on working families that will allow employers to lower wages and take bigger profits", South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Ben Field declared ahead of the #WeRise rally. Kennedy asked. "That's the interest the state has?"

Here are a few exchanges from the oral argument.

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The unions are trying to protect a precedent set by the Supreme Court in 1977.

"Today we rise up against Janus which is part of a well-funded campaign by the rich and powerful to divide us, us from our co-workers and limit our power in numbers we have together in our union". But the court said the money couldn't fund political or ideological activities unrelated to collective bargaining. "And you know what I say, sisters and brothers?"

The previous ruling allows public sector unions to charge non-members who benefit from their collective bargaining. Members of Teamsters Local 773 and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 956 showed up in numbers, as did activists with Make the Road Pennsylvania, which advocates for Latino communities and progressive causes.

She was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who anxious that overruling Abood would "drain" the public sector union's resources and even trigger members to stop paying for something others are getting for free.

The mandatory fees at stake in this case are permitted in 22 states and prohibited in 26. The chances are good that the five right-wing activist judges on the Supreme Court may well overturn more than 40 years of precedents to support this freakish argument.

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Fair-share agency fees for public-service unions became legal in the 1970s in the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case. Wouldn't a ruling for Janus upset expectations in these states?

But, because he's covered under a collective bargaining agreement made by that union, he's forced to pay dues.

On Monday, the other justices largely stuck to familiar themes, with some blunt assessments of the other side's arguments.

"Probably their goal is to eventually get rid of the unions", Green told WFMZ. The last time, the Obama administration joined with the teachers union and the state of California in urging the justices to uphold the court's long-standing precedent. Frederick said, "No", it doesn't.

The child-support specialist said he grew frustrated when he joined the state government in 2007 and noticed a deduction from his paycheck to cover union fees.

AFSCME argues that Abood was correctly decided, and fair share fees are important for labor relations and fairness. He said the state has a strong-enough interest in negotiating with a single, empowered union to overcome any of the employees' free-speech concerns.

Almost 1.4 million Californians - teachers, firefighters, clerks, janitors, IT staff - belong to public sector unions. In many contracts, agency fees are a tradeoff for a limitation on strikes, he said. The bottom line is that because states generally require unions to bargain for and represent all workers, regardless of their membership in a union, this case is something of a dagger pointed at labor's heart.

"It permits the government to compel employees to subsidize an advocacy group's political activity: namely, speaking to the government to influence governmental policies", Janus's attorneys wrote in a court brief.

Justice Gorsuch, who is often viewed as a successor to Scalia's ideology, is expected to tilt the case against the AFSCME this term. "It's reason for reversing Abood".