FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Supreme Court’s Latest Anti-Union Decision

Organized labor got an understandable scare when the Supreme Court, on June 30, in yet another 5-4 decision, ruled (in Harris vs. Quinn) that home healthcare employees can’t be forced to pay union dues, even if they have benefited from union representation. No surprise that those comprising the majority were Justices Scalia, Alito, Kennedy, Roberts and Thomas. The Gang of Five.

However, what worries organized labor most—what has put them on alert—isn’t the Harris vs. Quinn decision so much as the potential snowball effect it may have on the landmark Abrood vs. Detroit Board of Education decision (1977), a ruling which maintained that “fair share” requirements were constitutional. But that was way back in 1977, when unions were still recognized as vitally important social-economic institutions.

Alas, things have changed. There is now a predatory anti-union movement loose upon the land, one that is going around telling working folks that they deserve a free ride. These anti-union fiends are telling workers who voluntarily hired into union shops (because of the superior wages, benefits and working conditions) that they don’t have to pay their fair share—that they don’t have to pay dues to the very union who fought to get them these superior wages and benefits.

Nutty as that sounds, these anti-union fanatics have not only tried to make this a bogus First Amendment issue, they have, in fact, managed to get some intelligent people to listen to them, including the conservative wing of the Supreme Court. Of course, one can guess what organized labor’s position is on this issue. Their position is defined by a bedrock adherence to a sense of fair play.

All one need do is look at the numbers. With barely 11-percent of all jobs in the U.S. being unionized, a non-union job is incredibly easy to find. You throw a rock and you’ll hit a non-union job. Accordingly, people who, for whatever philosophical reason, are opposed to unions will have more than enough jobs to choose from. In fact, with so few union jobs out there, they will be hard-pressed to find one that is unionized.

But if these philosophically opposed Americans voluntarily choose a union job over a non-union job (because union jobs across the board—industry to industry, shop to shop—offer better wages, benefits and working conditions), it’s only fair they be asked to pay their share of the freight. Let’s be honest here. Not only would those wages and bennies not be available if it weren’t for the union, they were the sole reason why they chose a union job over a non-union job.

Yet, in a world seemingly turned upside down, these people are being told otherwise. They are being told that, despite the benefits their labor union was able to negotiate, the U.S. Constitution dictates that these workers don’t have to pay their fair share. Basically, they’re being told that the U.S. Constitution has a built-in “non-accountability” clause that none of us ever heard of, not until Ronald Reagan was elected president.

Of course, this issue is dripping with irony. The Republicans have a history of opposing social welfare (food stamps, stipends, government subsidies), arguing that such programs only encourage deadbeats. Yet, irony of ironies, here they are urging people to “go on welfare” by burying their snouts in the union trough. Idea for James Cameron’s next movie: “Terminator 4: Rise of the Freeloaders.”

David Macaray is a labor columnist and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor, 2nd Edition). dmacaray@earthlink.net

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
December 09, 2019
Jefferson Morley
Trump’s Hand-Picked Prosecutor John Durham Cleared the CIA Once, Will He Again?
Kirkpatrick Sale
Political Collapse: The Center Cannot Hold
Ishmael Reed
Bloomberg Condoned Sexual Assault by NYPD 
W. T. Whitney
Hitting at Cuban Doctors and at Human Solidarity
Louisa Willcox
The Grizzly Cost of Coexistence
Thomas Knapp
Meet Virgil Griffith: America’s Newest Political Prisoner
John Feffer
How the New Right Went Global — and How to Stop It
Ralph Nader
Why Not Also Go With “The Kitchen Table” Impeachable Offenses for Removal?
M. K. Bhadrakumar
Sri Lanka Continues Its Delicate Dance With India
Robert Fisk
Meet the Controversial Actor and Businessman Standing Up Against Egypt’s el-Sisi
Dahr Jamail
Savoring What Remains: Dealing With Climate PTSD
George Wuerthner
Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again
Scott Tucker
Premature Democratic Socialists: Reasons for Hope and Change
Julian Rose
Polish Minister of Health Proposes Carcinogenic 5G Emission Levels as National Norm
Dean Baker
Coal and the Regions Left Behind
Robert Koehler
Envisioning a United World
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail