US Supreme Court hears case critical to future of unions

Eileen GuzmanMar 02, 2018

However, it does not appear to make that much of a difference to the union membership. "And eventually, I guess, if enough people drop out, it's kind of like a church I guess, if not enough of the congregation is paying their tithe, then eventually, I assume they'd have to close their doors".

David Frederick, a lawyer arguing for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the labor union in the case, told the justices that state legislatures, city councils and school districts will have to start over when it comes to negotiating with state employee unions if the court overturns Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

OR is not among them, although that could end if the justices side with Janus. "Nationally, about 70 percent of teachers belong to a union and here in IL that number is even higher". How is that good for the people of the state? And the U.S. Now all eyes will be on conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump.

The justices are expected to rule on the case before the end of the term in June.

The court is being asked to jettison a 41-year-old ruling - based on an IL case - that allows states to require government employees who don't want to be union members to pay for their share of activities the union undertakes on behalf of all workers, not just its members.

The future of unions could hang on a case being argued Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

They agreed with a lawyer for Mark Janus, an IL state employee who objects to paying $45 a month to support his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

"They (nonunion members) still get union representation".

"Thousands of municipalities would have contracts invalidated". But conservative think tanks, including some underwritten by the Koch and Mercer families, have obsessed over it. That view has made its way to the high court. "And most of us choose these state and county jobs for the benefits that come along with them, like the right to have a pension or retirement", she added.

The court split 4-4 the last time it considered the issue in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Fellow conservatives Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito were particularly forceful in questioning the lawfulness of the fees, based on the notion that collective bargaining is in essence a political activity.

And unions matter here. It could mean a major hit to union revenue.

Asked why he waited until 2011 to join in the lawsuit, Janus said, "It amounted to just the fact that I saw the money keep coming out and I just kept getting more and more frustrated with the funds and where they were going and what they were being used for". Organized labor is a big supporter of Democratic candidates and interests.

Daniel DiSalvo is an associate professor of political science at the City College of NY, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and author of Government Against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Mark Janus, who works for the State of IL and chose not to join the AFSCME union, believes his First Amendment rights have been violated.

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