Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court Ruling May Crush UnionsOn February 8, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
The Supreme Court is about to decide do you have to pay union dues if your workplace is unionized? When I worked at CBS and ABC, I had to. I was told, this is a union shop. You must pay up. But now the court may say for government workers, that’s unconstitutional. So unions are nervous. If we lose this case, the entire public sector will be right to work. Right to work would mean unions could no longer force workers to join and pay dues. The union’s values are all money. Teacher Rebecca Friedreichs filed a lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court because she says, unions are bullies. If someone takes something from me. You understand why she says that when you listen to some union leaders speak. And I’m going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt. That guy is boss of the biggest teachers union. And you sick people. Rebecca got mad at her union during the last recession when she tried to save some teachers jobs by getting all the teachers to take a slight pay cut. They were willing to take a cut? Absolutely, were willing to have that discussion and all of America was taking a pay cut pretty much. Why should we be any different? But the union wouldn’t even allow her to survey the other teachers. They said absolutely not. Would not let me send out that survey. Then, angering her further: They told me, “Rebecca, don’t worry about those teachers who are going to lose their jobs. The union’s going to take care of them. We’re going to give them a seminar on how to get unemployment benefits.” So Rebecca decided she no longer wanted to pay union dues. She sued the California Teachers Association and after three years, the Supreme Court heard her case. This is so exciting. Our voices were heard today. Union voices were heard too. They protested on the steps outside the court. We fight for equality. They were worried because Supreme Court watchers said Rebecca was likely to win. The case that has the potential to decimate the way that public sector unions function. But then, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died. That was the most devastating day. Without Scalia’s vote, the court deadlocked. That meant unions could continue forcing teachers to pay dues. It is a huge win for public sector unions. But now a new case filed by this government worker Mark Janus is about to be heard by the court. With Neil Gorsuch, the ninth justice, unions are so worried they even agreed to speak to me. Our members want their union. They want their union to have power. Steve Kreisberg represents the union that’s being sued by Mark Janus. It’s his right to dissent and not be a member of our union. He only has to pay the fees that are used to represent him. What’s the point in that if you have to pay? That’s the main reason he doesn’t want to join. He doesn’t want to be forced to pay for something he doesn’t agree with. Well, I’m not sure if he doesn’t agree with it or if he just simply doesn’t want to pay because he’d like to get those services for free. The union could say, “We’re bargaining for all you teachers. If you don’t join the union, you’re a free rider.” I never asked for their representation. All right, but you’re getting it and presumably benefitting. If I saw their representation as a benefit, then I could agree with that. But I don’t see it as a benefit. Their benefits aren’t worth the moral costs. To me, that sounds like the words of a right-wing activist, not the words of a teacher. She was a teacher who got together with other teachers and said let’s take a pay cut so nobody has to get fired, and the union said “No, you may not even put that to a vote.” They elected somebody else. So she has no more right to call a vote than Hillary Clinton has the right to conduct foreign policy for the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson believed that to compel a man to contribute to propagation of opinions to which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson had no sense of 21st century labor relations. It is mine! No, he probably didn’t. You do not take what is mine! Now the Supreme Court will decide. Oral arguments are scheduled for Monday. The court will announce its decision sometime this summer. I hope they’ll see it the way Jefferson did. Forcing someone to pay for something they don’t want is tyranny.