Public sector unions just avoided a huge defeat at the Supreme Court
If Antonin Scalia were alive, things could have turned out very differently.
A case that had the potential to weaken public sector unions across the United States ended with a somewhat unexpected victory for unions on Tuesday, as the Supreme Court divided 4-4 on the question of requiring nonmembers to pay a fee to the public sector union that negotiates the collective bargain agreement that covers both members and nonmembers.
The split vote in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association means a lower court verdict in favor of the union stands.
A decision against the unions would have made the 23 states with those fees, known as agency fees, into "right to work" states, where unions can't force nonmembers to cover the cost of collective bargaining and where union membership is consequently much weaker. ...
Here's what's always chapped me about "right to work" (so-called):
Under RtW, an employee working under the contract can "opt out" as regards paying any fees or dues ... because they don't like unions, don't want to play in labor's sandbox, whatever. But they still get union benefits ... and the union still has to represent them if there's a workplace dispute involving the non-member employee. (You know. If the employee gets into disciplinary trouble? Things like that?)
Wrap your head around that. The service organization known as a guild or union has to spend energy, time, and money to defend Mr. "Opt Out" because that's the freaking law. The gent (or lady) gets all the benefits, all the service that the guild/union can provide, and not pay a plugged nickel.
Imagine, if you will, if the law gave you the right to walk into MacDonald's and get a hamburger for free. Or to stroll up to the ticket counter of your AMC or Disneyland or Six Flags amusement park and say: "Hey, I really choose not to pay you the ticket price because I'm short this week and I really think your charges are high anyway, but let me in. The LAW requires you do do that."
We'd kind of have chaos, don't you think? And maybe a general collapse of the economic system as presently constituted.
Insane, a system like that. Sadly, that's what we've now got in RighttoWorkland.
But honestly? I can see a similar but different setup. One where somebody opts out of union representation and doesn't get union wages or union benefits, and just takes whatever the company offers (and maybe that offer would be higher and maybe it would be lower, but I'm guessing ... ahm ... lower). But that's not the way things work in current RighttoWorkland. You pay nothing but get the full suite of goodies, right up to and including union/guild protection. And all for the very low fee of $000.00
Such a deal. Such a giant rook. But at SCOTUS, we're one justice's vote away from that very thing being the law of the land.