The Supreme Court has been leaving the Left in an uproar over decisions that please constitutionally-based conservatives.
They’ve lost the travel ban fight, as well as the 1st Amendment religious freedom fight. No more frivolous lawsuits against bakers who choose not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
And now, they’ve quite possibly lost their most prized possession.
The labor movement and the Democratic Party have been close allies for decades. In fact, in heavily unionized regions, it has been almost impossible to get elected unless one is a Democrat. However, those times have changed as the economy has changed. As a result, organized labor’s power has declined. Yet it remains an important Democratic Party constituency.
However, the decision this Supreme Court is likely to return could be a nightmare for the left.
From USA Today:
“On the court’s docket next month are fees paid in 22 states by police, firefighters, teachers and other government workers who decline to join unions that must represent them anyway. But much more is at stake in a nation with declining union membership and growing economic inequality.
“After three tries in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the high court is poised to reverse its own 40-year-old precedent and strike down the so-called ‘fair share’ fees as unconstitutional. The 1977 ruling said workers did not have to pay for unions’ political activity. The verdict expected by June would allow them to contribute nothing at all.”
These fees are significant revenue sources for these unions. And the unions support the collection of fees from non-members by stating that they are negotiating on behalf of all the workers in the relevant group. In other words, they believe they are providing benefits to non-members. Thus, as the reasoning goes, those non-members should be compelled to compensate the unions.
The current makeup of the high court is unlikely to support this union argument.
“If the court’s five conservatives vote the way both sides anticipate, public employee unions in traditionally Democratic states in the Northeast and West will lose those workers and the fees they pay. Other lawsuits could follow if workers are allowed to band together and seek refunds for fees already paid.”
And that’s part of organized labor’s and the left’s nightmare. There is more.
“On top of that, unions are braced for a slow bleed of full dues-paying members. Until now, those workers could save only about 10% to 20% of their costs by quitting the union; a ruling against fair-share fees would enable them to become ‘free riders.’ That could force unions to raise dues on those who remain or lose clout in states such as California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“‘If they don’t see this coming, they’re totally blind,’ says Daniel DiSalvo, a labor expert at the conservative Manhattan Institute. He predicts public employee unions could lose from 10% to 30% of their membership and financing over time.”
Then there is the additional problem presented by the overall slow decline in union membership. This, partly due to an economy that simply does not emphasize jobs that are traditionally unionized to the degree it did in past decades. And partly due to the impact of “right-to-work” states.
The future for American workers can remain very bright no matter what happens in this decision. A growing economy can see to that. And if the union movement is to survive, it will have to adjust.
For public employee unions, that adjustment is likely to be painful. After all, they are going to have to make the case to workers that they are worth their fees. Welcome to the free-market.
Source: USA Today