Sunday, June 29, 2014

D-Day For Unions?

There is a case that is currently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that has not been getting anywhere nearly the attention it should be getting.  The case is called Harris vs Quinn and it stems from a case in Illinois.

To put the case in a nutshell, in 2003, the State of Illinois passed a law stating that people receiving government funding to take caring of loved ones should be considered to be public employees.  This automatically made them union members.

An anti-union front group that supports the misnamed Right to Work laws and which is sponsored by Big Business has fought this all the way to the Supreme Court, which is expected to release their decision as soon as Monday.

Depending on which way the Supreme Court rules, and how general or specific their decision is, it could mean very bad news for unions all across the nations.  If the decision goes against the unions, as is expected, it would set up a national scenario much like we've seen here in Wisconsin after Scott Walker dropped his Act 10 bomb on the state.  It would greatly weaken the unions and open the door to more exploitation of workers, lower wages, higher levels of poverty and the same stagnant economy we have here in Wisconsin.

Ironically, the bright ray of hope for the unions is the usually anti-union Justice Antonin Scalia:
Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia could prove to be the swing vote, experts say.

In a 1991 Supreme Court case, Scalia argued it is reasonable for unions to collect fees from non-union members to cover their negotiating costs. Then, during oral arguments for Harris vs. Quinn in January, Scalia's questions led some believe he is leaning in this direction once again.

Eisenbrey called Scalia “the hope.”

“In this case, Scalia may actually end up being a swing vote who actually sides with the more liberal members of the court and, of course, workers,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
Even if the Supreme Court does rule against the unions, don't for a minute consider it a kill shot, as some are hyping it to be.

Sure, it will make things more difficult for the unions, but just ask Scott Walker or Chris Abele about how crippled the unions are. Just brace yourself for the outburst of profanities that comes out of their weaselly mouths when you do.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that some are hoping this will be a "killshot" for unions should illustrate the need for unions is not dead. Nothing pushes back against exploitation like solidarity.