FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Labor Poised to Be Hit With a Million-Pound Shit-Hammer

In “Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 16-1466”), a case that was inches away from being ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was providentially postponed by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, organized labor is now preparing to receive an imminent dose of very bad news.

Upon Scalia’s death, the court stood at 4-4, with justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor voting to deny Janus, and Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito voting to uphold his lawsuit. Unless something startling and totally unforeseen occurs, Scalia’s replacement, the conservative Neil Gorsuch, is expected to drive the final nail into the coffin.

Essentially, the Janus case hinges on whether a government employee in an “agency shop,” who has chosen not to join the union, is no longer required (per the 1977 “Abood” decision), to pay any union dues whatever.

Addressing that issue, Abood (“Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education)” made it abundantly clear that while a government employee has the right not to join the union that represents him, he can’t do so without having to donate a small portion of union dues. After all, fair is fair. It was the union that got him all these goodies. Freeloaders are frowned upon.

In an agency shop (as opposed to a “union shop,” where union membership is a condition of employment), an employee who truculently chooses not to join the union loses only three things, none of which are going to matter to him. He loses the right to attend union meetings, the right to run for a union office, and the right to vote in a union election.

Yet, for this “toy rebel,” it’s not what he loses; it’s what he gains. Not only will he continue to receive the same wages and benefits as a dues-paying union member, he remains entitled to full union representation (e.g., he still gets to use a shop steward to file grievances against management). Which is why the Abood decision was so vitally necessary.

Alas, Abood is almost certain to be overturned. And oddly, what makes its reversal so repellent isn’t simply the disgraceful and greedy “freeloading” part. It’s the naked hypocrisy that underlies it.

Although Janus proponents continue to self-righteously couch their argument in high-minded First Amendment rhetoric, this case is about nothing so much as old-fashioned, smash-mouth street politics.

Because organized labor has always been recognized as a loyal and dependable supporter (if, lately, an unrequited “partner”) of the Democratic Party, Republicans have been gnashing their teeth—nursing a grudge going all the way back to the New Deal—over the fact that elections can be won and lost on the basis of labor’s support.

Accordingly, the Republican Party has frantically been seeking ways to turn off the Labor-to-Democrats money spigot. Eliminating union dues that go directly into an AFL-CIO action fund is one ingenious way of doing it. One small step for man, one giant leap for the Angel of Death.

But instead of being honest about this strategy, they pretend that encouraging this sort of gutless freeloading (receiving union benefits without paying union dues) is exactly what the enlightened and visionary framers of the constitution had in mind when they established the Bill of Rights.

All of which leads one to the conclusion that Dante Alighieri, in his “Inferno,” knew exactly what he was talking about. In Dante’s depiction of the Underworld, each descending lower Circle of Hell represents a “worse” sin.

There are nine levels. The first, and least sinful Circle, is Limbo, where the spirits of unbaptized souls reside. Jumping down to Circle Six, we find the heretics. Dropping another notch, to Circle Seven, we find the murderers.

And a notch below that, in Circle Eight, is where we encounter the “hypocrites, seducers, and liars.” The Ninth and final Circle is reserved for betrayers and traitors. Brutus and Cassius (betrayers of Julius Caeser) are there, as is Judas Escariot.

Indeed, even Dante (1265-1321) realized how despicable hypocrites were. He put them beneath killers. Apparently, Dante had more respect for a garden variety murderer than an eloquent, sanctimonious hypocrite. Of course, the ability to appear noble and highly principled has always been a sure-fire way to attract followers. Rest in peace, Billy Graham.

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

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail