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Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling Will Hurt Children


Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling Will Hurt Children

Jeff Bryant

If the Supreme Court rules against workers in Janus vs. AFSCME, it will hurt children at a time when it’s become shamefully commonplace for our government to abuse those of a tender age.


From the article:

“The plaintiff, Janus, argues these policies violate free speech because workers are forced to pay money to a group that advocates for causes they may not support.”

Not that I endorse the plaintiff’s point of view, but wouldn’t a favorable ruling mean that my being forced to pay taxes to support war, fossil fuel/nuclear power and bank fraud, among other outrages, violates my First Amendment rights?



The difference is that tax revenue is allocated by people who were elected to office. Presumably, as a citizen, you participated in elections that resulted in politicians taking office, therefore you had a voice in electing the people who currently hold office. (Even if the people in office are not the people you voted for, that doesn’t change the fact that your voice was heard.)

In the case of union shop arrangements, employees are told: “As a condition of employment, you are required to hire this private organization that engages in political advocacy to negotiate your wages and other contract conditions. You may choose not to join this organization, but you still have to give them your money, which can be spent on political advocacy that you oppose. Moreover, if you choose not to join this organization, you are denied the opportunity to vote on contracts that affect you, on how the money that you are required to pay is spent, and on electing the officials that will have the responsibility of spending your money.” Non-member representees are never given the opportunity to have a say in how money that they are required to pay is spent.

That is is a form of Taxation Without Representation.

I don’t like the way many of my tax dollars are spent, but I have the ability to do something about it. With so-called “agency-shop”, unions don’t give you a choice over whether they take your money, but they don’t give you a voice in how it is spent unless you actually join, and by joining you forfeit any right to tell them they can’t spent your money on political advocacy with which you might disagree.


Got some bad news for you, there isn’t much difference between you’re definition of unions and present day govt., taxation without representation applies there also.
You act as if non-union members get a raw deal, and failed to mention they receive all the work related benefits that members are afforded. If you want to vote on the contracts and have a say how the money is spent, join the union.


Yes. And then there are multibillion-dollar corp’s which pay net zero taxes—or even get rebates!

Representation without taxation—similar to the “free-rider” problem faced by unions—is also tyranny, lest we forget.


Rubbish. If the people’s voices were sincerely heard and acted upon, we’d have an end to our endless wars and bank bailouts, health care as a right of citizenship, and steeply-progressive tax rates a la FDR, among other popular programs. That we do not is a testimony to the utterly corrupt political process the predatory rich have managed to build for themselves over the generations since the New Deal.


This is wrong. Under law, Unions are to quarantine political advocacy from contract negations etc. A fair share employee is paying their fair share for representation, in other words, during contract negotiations or for representation in employment disputes with their employer. What Janus is attempting to do is challenge fair share in government employment, which the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed in 1976, on free speech grounds. It would have been laughed out of Court twenty years ago, but the Right has control now with the ascension on Gorsuch.

I might add, the challenge is on free speech grounds because the facts of the case are not in dispute. Under law, Janus benefitted from the closed-shop contract he held via the union, retiring with his pension. He’s challenging on speech grounds for future workers, or so he claims. Money is speech for this Court, so the Right has its opening.


Strawman excuses. And completely disingenuous to boot. You can work at a non-union job. Afterall, only 7% of nongovernmental jobs are union jobs. You have plenty of choices. Now you can say that is not being realistic or fair. But if being realistic and fair is a factor then why bring up your comments in the first place since having a union job is overwhelming the most realistic and fair choice a worker can have to live a decent existence. You must be a real treat when it comes to Social Security and Medicare.



You are absolutely right: Janus is challenging “Fair Share”, which is mis-named because it is not in any way fair, because employees who are required to pay “Fair Share” fees are not given the same rights as actual union members.

The union is required to represent them, but how can you represent them if you don’t give them a voice (read: a vote) in how they are represented?

Regarding the free-rider argument: that’s a red herring. I was a public employee in California when agency shop was enacted. As soon as that happened at my workplace, union responsiveness to the people it was supposed to represent completely dried up. The union took the position of, “We don’t have to make ourselves attractive to new potential members any more, we’re getting their money anyway.” The union held a strangle-hold over the bargaining and promotion process, and the common workers (most of whom told me directly that they didn’t want union interference in their lives or work environments) were powerless to do anything about it. The union leadership lied to us, they acted with a sense of entitlement to our money rather than trying to justify the service they were supposed to be providing us, and they squashed any dissent. I have never found an organization that resembled the Trump administration more than the union that was taking my money without my consent and claiming to offer me “services” and “benefits” - services I didn’t want, didn’t ask for, and didn’t endorse, and the “benefits” I received I would evaluate as a net detriment to my pay and career. I would never choose Trump to represent me, but you know what - I can vote against Trump in the next election. I would never have chosen the leadership of that union to represent me, but you know what - I was never given the opportunity to make that choice.

I encourage you to read the following piece from the Huffington Post about this issue. (see below) Pay attention to the following paragraph: “I think for some unions it will be existential, in the sense that they haven’t prepared for it and don’t have the solidarity to survive it,” said Paul Secunda, a labor law professor at Marquette University Law School. “The unions that are run well and have dedicated members will come out okay, and those that are just relying upon the mandatory fees will not.” I’m all for protecting the good unions. But the bad ones need to give way so that the good ones can do what they were meant to do - serve their representees, and not just serve themselves.

[the link was disallowed by the platform. The Huffington Post piece in question was by Dave Jamieson, dated Feb 26, 2018, and was entitled This Supreme Court Case Is The Biggest Threat To Organized Labor In Years. It can easily be found with a Google-search.]


Some non-union workers pay reduced fees that are aligned with benefit received.


They do here in California. That was the point of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Abood (1976). Agency fees for representation and contract negotiations everyone puts into, but everyone does not have to put into “political” fees since they impact speech rights. Conservatives nowadays don’t like this separation.

I organized for a large union and understand the complaints about leadership insularity etc. But fair share has been a key part of law now for 50 years. I think a lot of folks aren’t going to appreciate the longterm results of the coming decision.


You know a lot more than I but I think fair is fair, if you benefit from something you should help pay for it. Unions are always being co-opted or destroyed by the right or corporate interests that already have a disproportionate influence. Well said.


In the 1920s, unions withered and had little power under the vision you hold. As I note in my comment above, I understand the complaints about union leadership insularity, etc., but the idea that you are going to have individual power under the current Court makeup apart from collective representation is a joke. You see, Mitch McConnell wanted Gorsuch on the Court so employees don’t retain or have power. Forced arbitration is now here, collective bargaining will be weakened. Try and enforce your rights individually in the future and we’ll see how quickly you fold once the first attorney fees start rolling in.


Naturally the right-wing doesn’t like the total fees minus ‘political’ fees situation. That separation puts the lie to their narrative about ‘right to work’. If the right-wing was serious about ‘right to work’ they would push to have two separate systems existing concurrently. Collective bargaining and the choice to bargain individually. A real ‘free market’ head to head comparison. But of course they would never do that instead choosing the present methods of destroying collective bargaining, as is being done to with class action lawsuits. The propaganda used to promote this is so ridiculous it’s beyond lame. But that has never been a drawback to the right-wing.


It’s about power.


The right wing has always hated unions, period. They will use any argument that they possibly can to destroy unions.

Ditto for privatization of public assets and resources.

Ditto for “tort reform” (severely limiting or totally eliminating jury awards for damages.)

Ditto for voting rights protections.

Every victory that they win only further diminishes the freedom of the worker.

Eventually, their goal is to insure that each individual will stand alone and powerless.

Do not lose sight of this. You can be sure that they won’t!


Among that dirty deeds list of the right-wing that you presented, one in particular jumps out.

“Eventually, their goal is to insure that each individual will stand alone and powerless.”

There has been mechanisms that have been atomizing the population for a long time now, creating communities of isolated individuals. A common reply by succeeding generations to the refrain that ‘things aren’t what they used to be’, is to claim that ‘every generation says that’. Yet people have indeed seen a real change. The decline in the sense of community, of contact and association. The feeling of living in a community, a neighborhood with others like yourself has evaporated. This decline has been apparent for decades. There really is a difference. And it’s not by happenstance, it was quite intentional.

However the IT age has provided the information and communication to create another way to become informed and aware, to make connections, to create and express solidarity, like unions have done. Despite Trumps’ appearance on the scene the biggest happening to come out of the 2016 election cycle has been the movement Bernie Sanders’ campaign has sparked. Which has melded with the many other movements into a collective peoples’ movement. Sanders maximized the platform he had by pounding on the issues that were so critically important to so many in the country. That tossed a match onto the mountain of dry tinder that has been building for generations. This was no reaction of spite, as with the Trump election or the Brexit movement. This was a long overdue democratic happening. And it’s just beginning. The conduct of Trump, his administration, the GOP, this whole conglomeration of psychotic behavior, horrendous as its been, adds that much more determination and sense of purpose to this peoples’ movement. How this will affect the scorecard of political players and teams, who knows. Is it even relevant? It’s the content and not the insignia that’s important. That is what will not only keep people from losing sight of what the enemies of society are planning and doing but create a barrier against it. And it’s just the beginning. You don’t need the instincts of a Sherlock Holmes to realize that.


“Teachers’ unions will likely lose revenues due to workers who opt not to pay the fees, and fewer workers paying fees likely will lead to losses in membership.”

Sounds to me that the teachers’ unions haven’t demonstrated a favorable value proposition to their members. Maybe they’ve grown complacent, sine the government will force teachers to join. If there is an inherent and obvious value to union membership, wouldn’t teachers be lining up to join and pay fees to take advantage of those values?


Public school teachers are members of unions. Also, without unions there would be no pensions, no weekends, no vacations, no 8 hour days , no rights etc. Remember that, or did we forget? Also for the obscenely wealthy like Kochs and Devious to not even care about others’ rights is crazy greedy and entitled. Amerika is now a banana republic.