by Laura Clawson. Labor at Daily Kos
The Supreme Court partially pulled its last punch against public employees and their unions, but it’s coming back for another shot. In 2014, the court limited its anti-union decision in Harris v. Quinn to only affect home care workers (some of the most vulnerable, exploited workers out there) rather than all public sector workers. That decision allowed anti-union home care workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying their fair share, thereby forcing their union-member co-workers to pay to represent them.
Now the court has said it will hear a similar case involving teachers, with anti-union teachers suing to get out of paying their share of union activities that directly benefit them.
Major labor leaders expressed dismay over the court’s decision to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges a 1977 ruling that had said such fees were constitutional as long as they’re used for “collective-bargaining, contract administration, and grievance-adjustment purposes.”
The Supreme Court has for years upheld the 1977 case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. But Justice Samuel Alito said in a 2014 opinion that the reasoning in Abood was “questionable on several grounds,” essentially inviting new challenges.
Opposition to unions is one of Alito’s key crusades, and this might be his chance. Making it possible for workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying any of the costs encourages freeloading, which weakens unions financially, which makes it more difficult for them to represent their members or organize workers, which weakens all workers. Which is what Alito wants.
Filed under: Politics Tagged: | Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, California Teachers Association, Center for Individual Rights, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Harvard Law School, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit