Those who follow labor union issues likely remember the disappointing conclusion in March of 2016 to the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Friedrichs had sought to stop the mandatory “contribution” of dues out of the paychecks of teachers who either did not belong to the teachers union or did not support their political positions. With the death of Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court split 4-4 on the case an allowed the unfair practice to continue.
Now, as John Hinderaker reports at Powerline, another case is making its way before the court and it’s dealing with the same set of issues. Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 is expected to be heard by the Supremes and this time Neil Gorsuch is on the case and the unions are bracing for defeat. If the practice of mandatory dues (which is actually much closer to extortion than anything else) is shot down, unions around the country will be in for some hard times.
As John explains, this has some of them making preemptive moves to avoid bleeding out all that money.
The public sector unions are bracing for defeat. In Minnesota, where I live, the most powerful political force, by far, is Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union. Education Minnesota is beginning a campaign to trick teachers into signing up for the indefinite future, so that they will not be liberated by the anticipated Janus decision. Tom Steward has the story at Center of the American Experiment’s web site.
This is a remarkably sneaky maneuver on the part of the teachers union there. Rather than allowing the teachers to decide on how their money will be spent in the political arena themselves, the union is asking teachers to sign a pledge effectively locking them into mandatory dues contributions for years to come. Here’s the pledge in question: (Emphasis in original)
I agree to submit dues to Education Minnesota and hereby request and voluntarily authorize my employer to deduct from my wages an amount equal to the regular monthly dues uniformly applicable to members of Education Minnesota or monthly service fee, and further that such amount so deducted be sent to such local union for and on my behalf. This authorization shall remain in effect and shall be automatically renewed from year to year, irrespective of my membership in the union, unless I revoke it by submitting written notice to both my employer and the local union during the seven-day period that begins on September 24 and ends on September 30.
If, as the unions anticipate, many of the teachers simply sign the card as one more piece of typical union business, they will lock themselves into having the cash deducted from their paychecks (even if they leave the union entirely). The only way out of the contract is to remember to submit a formal written request and they are only giving themselves a one week period each year to do so. And that one week window opens at the end of September, just when teachers are probably getting into high gear with their students shortly after the start of the new school year.
If the teachers are foolish enough to fall for this there clearly needs to be some sort of counter-education campaign reminding them to opt out. The question is, who would organize such an effort? But either way, the days of free money for the unions, extracted by force from their members, may be drawing to a close. Imagine how much more cooperation and solidarity they might be able to expect if they spent their dues money on seeing to the needs of the teachers and handled all of their funding of the Democratic Party separately, in a manner which is completely voluntary for the members who wished to do so.