The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday ruled 5-4 that government employee unions cannot force non-members such as Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, to pay agency fees to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a powerful government employee union.
“This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue,” Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion states. “Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.” President Trump was quick to respond 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!”
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, labor secretary for POTUS 44, responded in USA Today that “Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat to get decisions like ‘Janus’ that help corporations and hurt unions and workers. Fight back by voting this fall.”
So in the view of the DNC boss, President Trump “stole” the Supreme Court seat now occupied by Neil Gorsuch. To do that, the president had to steal the 2016 election, which the Democrats are still contending despite zero evidence to back it up.
For the DNC’s Perez, the decision in Janus v. AFSCME was “one of the most blatant and disgraceful examples of union busting in our nation’s history,” and “conservative justices on the Supreme Court took aim at the heart of public-sector unions in America.”
“Make no mistake,” Perez wrote, “The nomination of Neil Gorsuch was first and foremost about winning the _Janus_ case and taking rights away from workers.” Attacking unions “is one of the most powerful tactics in the Republican playbook to enrich their wealthy friends at the expense of working people,” Perez wrote. And “the Trump administration has only worsened the assault on the labor community.” On the other hand, “When Democrats get out to vote, we protect working families,” especially “communities of color.”
For the DNC boss, “Democrats know that unions are the backbone of the American middle class.” And besides, “public approval for unions is soaring, especially among young people.” So “the fight is far from over.” And so on. But as Sam Kinison said in Back to School, “is he right?”
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 10.7 percent of U.S. wage and salary workers are union members. So a full 89.3 percent of workers, the vast majority, are not union members. In 1983, the first year for which comparable date are available, a full 79.9 percent of American workers, still the vast majority, were not union members. They represented a minority of only 20.1 percent. The constant decline hardly indicates surging interest in unions on the part of young people, but there’s more to it.
With only 10.7 percent of the workforce, unions have no claim to represent “labor,” as the the old-line establishment media have it, much less “the workers.” By current numbers, unions are a special interest, and that carries serious implications for the public at large.
In the government sector, according to the BLS, 34.4 percent of workers are union members, slightly more than one-third. So 65.6 percent of government workers, a strong majority of nearly two-thirds, are not union members. Yet AFSCME and other government unions have been grabbing money out of workers’ pockets. The Supreme Court says they can’t do that anymore. That is good for the workers but displeases Justice Elena Kagan.
“The First Amendment was meant for better things,” the POTUS 44 nominee said in her dissent.
“It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance—including over the role of public-sector unions.” Clearly, the liberal justices are in the tank for government unions, a bad idea from the start.
Collective bargaining, said President FDR, “cannot be translated into public service.” Independent sector unions sought to get workers more of the profits, but government unions negotiate for more tax money. When they strike, they strike against taxpayers, who do not vote for the government union bosses and can’t resort to Fred’s government down the street.
Government employee unions also protect incompetence and have made it practically impossible for government to fire anybody. That aids politicians who deploy government workers for partisan purposes, as in the FBI targeting scandal, Fast and Furious, and the deep state plot to clear Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump.
With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, president Trump has a chance to secure a stronger conservative majority. Among other things, that court should aim to secure full parental choice in education for all, as a matter of basic civil rights.
In the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court slaps away the greedy hand of government unions and allows workers to spend their own money as they see fit. Hard to blame workers, taxpayers and the public for seeing that as a victory.