Saturday, November 26, 2016

Trump high court could threaten public employee unions’ cash flow

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
With his first Supreme Court appointment, President-elect Donald Trump will be in a position to deal a severe blow to unions representing government workers, the stronghold of organized labor in the United States.

Unions won a reprieve in March when the court, after the death of its leading conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, deadlocked 4-4 on a lawsuit by nonunion teachers in California. They were challenging the fees they had to pay to the California Teachers Association, in various districts, for the costs of representing them in negotiations over pay and working conditions. That left in place an appeals court ruling upholding the fees.

But the issue remains alive in other cases that could reach the Supreme Court within a year. Trump, who has promised to appoint justices in the mold of Scalia, said during his presidential campaign that he liked “right-to-work” laws, which would make union membership and dues voluntary for all workers.

“It is better for the people,” Trump told a radio interviewer in February. “You are not paying the big fees to the unions.”

Although the labor dispute turns on a constitutional issue — whether union fees paid by government employees are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment — its partisan implications are clear. A ruling against the unions would cost them funding from hundreds of thousands of nonmembers and the political clout that goes with it, largely in favor of Democrats.
Fears in government worker land.