Monday, September 11, 2017

Supreme Court Could Eviscerate Unions' Funding

Organized Labor is maintaining its Strong presence in New York, according to the latest data, but the U.S. Supreme Court could soon make Life very difficult for Public-Sector Unions.

Overall 24.2% of the Workers in the City are Union Members, a small uptick from last year. More important, the number is more than double the 10.7% Average for all 50 States, according to the recently released Annual report from the Murphy Institute at the CUNY Graduate Center. Something like three-quarters of these Workers are Government Employees.

New York requires Workers represented by Unions to Pay Union Dues even if they don't want to be in the Union, under the Theory that they Receive the Contract Benefits that the Union Wins. These Workers can ask to be Reimbursed for the Fraction of the Dues that goes Directly to Political Activity.

Conservative Legal Organizations have Challenged this Requirement, arguing that Union Activity is inherently Political and Governments should not be able to Require Workers to Finance Actions with which they do not agree.
The first such Case to Reach the Supreme Court resulted in a 4–4 Deadlock last spring, which left a California Law intact. But a Second Challenge, from Illinois, is on the Court's Docket for the Current Term, and the betting is that Conservative Trump Appointee Neil Gorsuch will provide the decisive Fifth Vote to Strike Down the Rule Nationally.

If that happens, these Workers presumably will Stop Paying anything to Unions almost immediately. That's only the beginning of the Problem. When Wisconsin made Paying Dues voluntary, Union Membership dropped precipitously, to 23%, last year, from 50% in 2013.

Unions are already intensifying their efforts to Persuade Non-Members to Join. It isn't clear if they are having any success. As their Ranks shrink, Unions will have a much harder time finding the Money to Spend on Election Politics. And it will become clear that they Represent fewer Voters than ever before.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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