Supreme Court gutting public-employee unions
The Supreme Court on Monday made its decision on where it stands on the issue of requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to help support its public employees union very clear and appears to be ready to eliminate the requirement. The court’s strongly conservative justices criticized the current system which forces employees in 23 states and the District of Columbia contribute to the cost of the collective bargaining, despite when the disagree with their unions’ demands on issues.
Lawyers for California and its teachers union cited more mundane collective bargaining issues such as mileage rates and public safety and Chief Justice John Roberts fired back saying “it’s all money.” Collective bargaining, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said, is inherently political when the government is the employer, and issues like merit pay, promotions and classroom size are subject to negotiation.
The justices appeared divided along familiar lines during an extended argument over whether government workers who choose not to join unions may nonetheless be required to help pay for collective bargaining. The court’s conservative majority appeared ready to say that such compelled financial support violates the First Amendment. The court’s four liberal members were on the defensive, questioning whether there is good reason to terminate a 1977 precedent allowing the fees and possibly unraveling tens of thousands of collective bargaining agreements.
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