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Divided Supreme Court Ends Mandatory Dues (Read More…)

In Further Blow to Unions — Rules Members Must Opt In
June 27, 2018
CAROLYN PHENICIE
he Supreme Court in a sweeping decision Wednesday upended the way public-sector unions do business, ruling that dissenting employees cannot be compelled to pay any dues, and that union members must affirmatively opt into membership — rather than requiring dissenters to opt out.

Forcing dissenting employees to pay dues violates First Amendment protections against compelling speech, Justice Samuel A. Alito wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision that was both highly anticipated and widely expected.

“Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned,” Alito wrote.

A few hours after the decision was announced, news broke that Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, would retire, giving President Trump another pick that could shift the court’s ideological balance more sharply to the right.

The ruling, in Janus v. AFSCME, overturns a precedent from the 1970s known as Aboodwhich had held that dissenting public-sector workers could be exempted from funding unions’ explicitly political activities but could be forced to pay so-called agency fees that fund contract negotiations and other traditional labor activities.

The court’s four liberal justices dissented in an opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan. She criticized the majority for overruling Abood with “little regard” for the court’s usual deference to precedent, and said the court is inappropriately weighing in on whether agency fees should be required, an issue currently being debated in the states.

“Judicial disruption does not get any greater than what the Court does today,” Kagan wrote.
Plaintiff Mark Janus and others had argued that Abood should be overturned because even traditional labor activities, like contracts and layoff policies, are political when they affect taxpayer dollars and public policy.

Janus, a child support specialist from Illinois, praised the ruling.

After waiting in the courtroom to hear it, he described the decision as “a big sigh of relief, actually, that we now have a finished conclusion to this long road.”

“We’re doing this for worker rights across the country, the 5 million public-sector workers that now have the opportunity to decide on their own [whether or not to join a union],” Janus told The 74.
Unions, for their part, slammed the decision as elevating the privilege of conservative donors who have funded Janus and similar lawsuits over the rights of working people.

“Strong unions create strong communities. We will continue fighting, caring, showing up and voting, to make possible what is impossible for individuals acting alone,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

In overturning Abood, the court rejected arguments that it struck a balance between protecting dissenters’ First Amendment rights and maintaining “labor peace” while preventing “free riders” from benefiting from union-negotiated contracts without helping pay for them.
Alito in the majority opinion extensively discusses the First Amendment issue, particularly the issues on which dissenting members may disagree with their unions, including a number of education policies.

Specifically, he lists teacher tenure and transfer policies, merit pay, and evaluations as areas that could be negotiated in collective bargaining that are “of great public importance.”

Critics of how some of these policies play out in the classroom say teachers unions sometimes protect the interests of their adult members over the educational needs of students. Lawsuits brought in several states by the Partnership for Educational Justice argue that some of these union-negotiated protections, specifically tenure and seniority-based layoffs, directly harm low-income students of color by keeping poor-performing teachers in the classroom, denying students their right to an adequate public education.
The ruling has the potential to greatly diminish the monetary and political influence of unions, a key ally to Democrats.

President Donald Trump noted that fact in a Tweet praising the ruling and calling it a “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!”

Critics of how some of these policies play out in the classroom say teachers unions sometimes protect the interests of their adult members over the educational needs of students. Lawsuits brought in several states by the Partnership for Educational Justice argue that some of these union-negotiated protections, specifically tenure and seniority-based layoffs, directly harm low-income students of color by keeping poor-performing teachers in the classroom, denying students their right to an adequate public education.

The ruling has the potential to greatly diminish the monetary and political influence of unions, a key ally to Democrats.


President Donald Trump noted that fact in a Tweet praising the ruling and calling it a “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!”

Critics of how some of these policies play out in the classroom say teachers unions sometimes protect the interests of their adult members over the educational needs of students. Lawsuits brought in several states by the Partnership for Educational Justice argue that some of these union-negotiated protections, specifically tenure and seniority-based layoffs, directly harm low-income students of color by keeping poor-performing teachers in the classroom, denying students their right to an adequate public education.

The ruling has the potential to greatly diminish the monetary and political influence of unions, a key ally to Democrats.

President Donald Trump noted that fact in a Tweet praising the ruling and calling it a “Big loss
for the coffers of the Democrats!”


https://www.the74million.org/article/breaking-supreme-court-ends-mandatory-union-dues-in-5-4-vote/
The 74 is a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America

Posted by Admin on 07/13 at 10:50 PM
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