Thursday, September 10, 2015

Unions in Hands of U.S. Supreme Court

Unions in California could be lost if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against dues-paying-union members. Ironically, the victims’ best hope in the Court is Justice Antonin Scalia. Often the Court’s leading conservative, but in a 1991 case, Scalia wrote that because public sector unions have a legal duty to represent all employees. It’s reasonable to expect all workers to share the costs. The case before the Supreme Court is Friedrichs v. Wilford and pits the anti-labor, union hating GOP against union groups in an attempt to water down the unions’ power at the bargaining table, and ultimately the political process. The case was brought by California public school teachers, represented by the Center for Individual Rights, who claim their First Amendment rights are being violated paying the union dues, hence unions typically support Democratic candidates, candidates who are more likely to support the workers over the corporations. The goal of backers of this lawsuit is to end the mandatory paying of union dues across the U.S., asserting 25 states already have stopped the forced collections of union dues and the Supreme Court should follow through and make it nationwide. Justice Anthony Kennedy has not always been friendly to labor so labor is on a very thin line. And, the anti-labor’s drive to deprive unions of their political voice by spending $20 million on paycheck protection laws with the intent of preventing unions from collecting dues. They have lost three times, but this time it is out of the hands of the toilers and in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. The very rich are in a much better position to destroy unions nationwide, and wage and life inequality will run rampant worldwide. The workers who don’t want unions are not looking to their futures. Without unions, they won’t have much of a retirement plan. The few dollars they pay now in each pay check goes a long way toward the comfort level of their retirement years. For years, labor and its members have felt safe in California, but in the old days it was just the opposite, California was a very anti-labor state and a lot of blood was spilt to get what we have today. Now, apathy will probably destroy all organized labor’s efforts. Union members and their families do not understand what they have and how lucky they are. Most union members vote people in who do not support unions. A lot of members are Republicans and don’t go to union meetings. A lot of members don’t even vote. This decision by the Supreme Court has the potential to affect the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Highway Patrol, teachers, law enforcements (police and sheriff), prison employees, and the California Department of Transportation among others. So, who will be the person to blame when we lose all that the old labor organizers and union members, like the International Workers of the World, who went to jail, bled and even died to get what we have today: like good wages, pensions, healthcare, and work protections like job safety. This could all be lost in June 2016 if the Supreme Court rules against dues-paying-union members. So, at least vote for the right people if you won’t fight in the streets, walk picket lines, go to meetings, and support your own union. It’s your choice. June 2016 is less than a year away and all could be lost. Are you going to be one of those people who don’t realize how good they have it until it’s gone?