'This Is War': Labor Unions Fear Supreme Court Will Target Private-Sector Unions Next

By Langford, James | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, June 27, 2018 | Go to article overview

'This Is War': Labor Unions Fear Supreme Court Will Target Private-Sector Unions Next


Langford, James, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


The Supreme Court drew a sharp line between public and private workers when it barred governments from deducting "fair share" fees from the paychecks of non-union members who benefit from collective bargaining.

The 5-4 decision in Janus v. State, County and Municipal Employees alarmed labor groups representing workers on corporate payrolls nonetheless.

Made possible by President Trump's appointment of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch after a Republican-controlled Senate blocked consideration of former President Barack Obama's nominee during his last year in office, the decision is "just the latest tactic of corporations and wealthy donors who want to take away our freedom at work," said Robert Martinez, president of the International Association of Aerospace Workers and Machinists.

The ruling was widely viewed as a blow to organized labor, which has often supported Democrats, since it may drain the coffers of public-sector unions that have grown more powerful in the past three decades even as membership in private-sector groups declined. About 34 percent of government workers were union members in 2017, compared with just 6.5 percent of corporate employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The combined membership rate of about 10.7 percent was roughly half that of 1983.

The majority's decision in Janus, built around the First Amendment's prohibition of government controls on free speech, is "an attempt to limit the collective voices of not only government workers, but those in the private sector as well," said the Teamsters Union, which represents 1. …

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