Effecting about two dozen states, the ruling put down a 1977 decision that allowed them to require public employees to pay fees to unions regardless of membership status.
According to the decision, the original law violated the First Amendment by requiring workers to pay an organization that they may disagree with. Labor unions often back candidates and initiatives that some workers disagreed with, but were forced to contribute to financially anyway.
In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito stated, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees.”
This is clearly a win for the First Amendment as it will no longer allow mob-style unions to force employees to pay into a system against their will. For example, conservative non-union workers in the public sector can now rest knowing that their money can no longer be extracted and used to support issues such as abortion, open borders, and socialist laws.
This sentiment was not reflected in the progressive socialist opinion of Justice Elena Kagan who wrote of the decision. Kagan apparently believes that unions should be able to steal money from workers who do not have membership and then use it against their own interests.
“There is no sugarcoating today’s opinion. The majority overthrows a decision entrenched in this Nation’s law—and its economic life- for over 40 years. As a result, it prevents the American people, acting through their state and local officials, from making important choices about workplace governance,” wrote Kagan. “And it does so by weaponizing the First Amendment, in a way that unleashes judges, now and in the future, to intervene in economic and regulatory policy.”
But Justice Kagan’s statement not only shows her complete commitment to socialist organizations over the individual, it also holds a huge contradiction in the leftist narrative. The left has long sought to allow judges to “intervene in economic and regulatory policy.” Known as “legislating from the bench”, this tactic is used frequently by the left to circumvent the Constitution.
In fact, legislating from the bench was used as recently as last year, when the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court over ruled President Trump’s so-called “Travel Ban”. Constitutionally, the President of the United States has always been allowed to decide who may enter the country and the idea had never been challenged with Presidents Roosevelt, Carter, or more recently, Barrack Obama.
This ruling is likely to financially devastate many public-sector unions. Justice Alito acknowledged they could “experience unpleasant transition costs in the short term.”
He added, however, the loss would pale in comparison to what he deemed the “considerable windfall that unions have received[over] the past 41 years” from workers who have been forced to pay billions of dollars in spite of not even being members.
“Those unconstitutional extractions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” wrote Alito.
The Wednesday ruling in the case Janus v. AFSCME came as no surprise as it is similar to the Friedrichs v. California case in 2016 that, with the mysterious death of Justice Antonin Scalia, ended in a 4-4 Supreme Court stalemate. Presumably Scalia would have provided the deciding vote which would have had the same outcome two years sooner.
The Supreme Court ruling is a reassertion of liberty for some workers. It ensures that non union public sector employees in effected states will no longer have to fear losing their jobs if they choose not to contribute their money to the unions.
In spite of this particular freedom being restored, unions all over the United States have voiced their outrage, claiming that this is “bad” for workers. Using typical leftist rhetoric, they use double-speak to potentially rally uninformed union workers to support their agenda.
The union named in the law suit AFSCME actually claimed that the “Supreme Court sided with billionaires over working people”. In an article on the union’s web site, a worker by the name of Stephen Mittons who supports the union demonstrated his lack of knowledge surrounding the case.
“We’re not going to let some billionaire CEOs and corporate interest groups with a partisan agenda take away our freedom to come together and speak up for our communities,” said the worker. “ We’re going to stick together in our union.”
Despite the outrageous political speech, this decision did not, in any way, prevent unions from “coming together and speaking”. It did, however put a damper on the unions’ strongholds on their communities’ ability to speak out against them.
The Services Employee International Union (SEIU) local 509 in Massachusetts also weighed in on the decision with its own false statement. The local president Peter MacKinnon said, “Today, the Supreme Court came down on the wrong side of history in a case that the rich and powerful are hoping will divide us.”
He also implied that the Supreme Court decision somehow prevented the ability to raise wages, secure basic needs like healthcare coverage, improve jobs, protect rights and create a better life for families and communities. As in other claims MacKinnon’s assertion was complete nonsense and in the interest of stirring the ill-informed to action.
Indeed, this decision actually unravels the control that unions have had on the very communities they say they support. In fact it gives more incentive to many who are only in the union to protect their jobs to either leave the unions or hold them accountable to their word. Essentially this means that the unions will have to work to keep their members.
Before, this was not an issue as they could rely on money stolen from non-union workers to supplement their membership fees. Thus, the rhetoric the union officials engage in is really a cry to try to minimize future losses.
Other unions involved in the slandering of the court decision include, but are not limited to, the National Education Association(NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the AFL-CIO, and the Teamsters union.
But Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner, had a very different idea from the unions with whom he has been at odds since his first week in office. From the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C., he said that the decision was “pro-worker and pro-taxpayer” and that it was a “historic victory for freedom of speech and affiliation for our public sector employees, and for taxpayers who have to bear the high cost of government.”
Rauner also said that the state would stop withholding the fees from workers who are not in a union and that state employees would be notified and given an opportunity to “modify their union status”.
President Donald Trump also showed support for the Supreme Court Ruling in a tweet. “Supreme Court rules in favor of non-union workers who are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!”