If the Supreme Court rules against unions, conservatives won’t like what happens next

If the Supreme Court rules against AFSCME in Janus, many unions will abandon exclusive representation altogether. Their primary motivation will be avoiding the “free rider” problem — being required to expend resources on workers who opt out of paying anything for those services. And new unions will form to compete in that abandoned space.

The first unions to compete will probably be conservative. In non-bargaining Southern states that do not recognize formal union representation, organizations already exist that vie with teachers unions by offering minimal services and the promise to refrain from political activity. And right-wing foundations are paying for “organizers” to go door-to-door to convince union-represented workers to stop paying dues where they no longer have to. Would anybody really be surprised if rich and powerful funders encouraged new anti-union “unions” to more closely align members with the GOP agenda?

Those will eventually be followed by new unions that are more left-wing or militant (or at least crankier). They will not be satisfied with the current work rules and compensation and will have little incentive to settle.