Monday, June 30, 2014

SCOTUS Curbs Mandatory Union Fees

by JASmius

Not a "giant leap" back towards the right to work, but a "small leap," at least:

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home healthcare workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union's costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have bolstered their ranks and their bank accounts in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of in-home care workers. It could lead to an exodus of members who will have little incentive to pay dues if nonmembers don't have to share the burden of union costs.

As Big Labor has grown greedier, more corrupt, and more power-mad over the years, their private sector membership numbers have hemorrhaged.  As their private sector membership numbers have hemorrhaged, their public sector membership numbers have skyrocketed.  It's a natural "evolutionary" process, when you think about it.  Why bother "organizing" the private sector labor force when your Democrat buddies and pals are going to nationalize the entire economy anyway?  Eventually, everybody will be in the public sector - or else, right?

Along with that process has grown stratospheric arrogance, to where Big Labor bosses consider themselves entitled to syphon dues out of workers that aren't even in their jurisdiction.  It is to that that five Justices put a stop today....


But the ruling was limited to "partial-public employees" and stopped short of overturning decades of practice that has generally allowed public sector unions of teachers, firefighters and other government workers to pass through their representation costs to nonmembers.

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said home care workers "are different from full-fledged public employees" because they work primarily for their disabled or elderly customers and do not have most of the rights and benefits of state employees. The ruling does not affect private sector workers.

Y'see, eleven years ago the State of Illinois passed a law that declared home health workers who care for the disabled state employees because they are paid with Medicaid funds distributed by the State, and therefore they were required to unionize.  Those that didn't wish to join Service Employees International Union (the infamous SEIU) didn't have to participate, but they were still forced to cough up dues that were (you guessed it) withheld from their Medicaid payments.  The plaintiff, Pamela Harris, along with the group of dissident health workers on whose behalf she filed suit, objected on First Amendment grounds that they should not be forced to subsidize an organization and its views that they did not support.  SEIU and the State of Illinois said, "Oh, is that so?  Well, [BLEEP] you."

So why didn't Justice Alito go whole-hog and overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the 1977 Supreme Court decision which held that public employees who choose not to join a union can still be required to pay "representation fees"?  Because extending Abood to include "partial-public employees, quasi-public employees, or simply private employees would invite problems."

"Problems" like fearing for his life if he ever left his home again, I'd imagine:

Still, the court's limited ruling means public unions avoided a potentially devastating blow that could have meant a major drop in public employee membership ranks.

"Going nuclear" is the term for it, I believe.

But, hey, Justice Alito, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?  Or is it that after Barack Obama decides to bypass the Republican Senate next year and start packing Olympus directly with his "empathetic" appointments, his ruling is just going to be expunged anyway, so why bother going "all the way"?

C'mon, Sam, "bold colors," not "pale pastels".  Your gulag cell is going to be SO boring, man.

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