By Sahid Fawaz
It’s happening after all. The “right to work” case is going to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court is set to deal a sharp blow to the unions that represent millions of teachers and other public employees, announcing Thursday it will consider striking down the mandatory fees that support collective bargaining.
The justices will hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to the union, which represents 35,000 state workers.
The decision, due by next June, could prove a costly setback for public sector unions in 22 states, including California, where such fees are authorized by law. Labor experts have predicted a significant percentage of employees would stop supporting their union if given a choice. The other 28 states have ‘right to work’ laws that forbid requiring workers to join or support a union.
But the unions also have had time to prepare for what’s coming.
Early last year, the court’s conservatives were poised to strike down these so-called “fair share” fees in a suit brought by a California schoolteacher. But Justice Antonia Scalia died unexpectedly in February, leaving the court split 4-4 and unable to decide the case of Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers Assn.
Now, the court has agreed to hear a new case presenting the same issue. And this time, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch can — and most likely will — supply the fifth vote for a conservative ruling.
On Thursday, Gorsuch is scheduled to speak to a conservative group’s luncheon at the Trump International Hotel, and progressive groups intend to protest his appearance. They said Gorsuch’s speaking engagement raises ethical questions because the courts — and possibly the Supreme Court — may be called on to rule on a lawsuit that contends Trump’s continuing ownership of the hotel violates the Constitution’s ban on taking ’emoluments’ while in office.
The union fees case presents the question of whether to overturn a 40-year-old ruling. In that case, Abood vs. Detroit, the Supreme Court said it was reasonable to require all employees, not just union members, to pay to support the cost of bargaining because all of them benefited. By law, the unions are required to represent all employees, including by handling their grievances.”
For the rest of the story, check out the Los Angeles Times piece here.