By Sahid Fawaz
We are one week away from the Supreme Court hearing that will have ramifications for union members throughout the country.
“America’s union leaders are about to find out if they were right to fiercely oppose Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court as a pivotal, potentially devastating vote against organized labor.
The newest justice holds the deciding vote in a case to be argued Feb. 26 that could affect the financial viability of unions that are major supporters of Democratic candidates and causes. The unions represent more than 5 million government workers in 24 states and the District of Columbia who could be affected by the outcome. The other eight justices split 4 to 4 when the issue was last at the court in 2016.
The court is being asked to jettison a 41-year-old ruling that allows states to require government employees who don’t want to be union members to pay for their share of activities the union undertakes on behalf of all workers, not just its members. These so-called fair share fees cover the costs of collective bargaining and grievance procedures to deal with workplace complaints . . .
The issue might have been settled in Janus’ favor two years ago. In January 2016, the court heard an identical complaint from California teachers and appeared to be ready to decide that states have no right to compel workers to pay money to unions.
But less than a month later, Justice Antonin Scalia died and the court soon after announced its tie, in effect a win for the unions. The one-sentence opinion did not identify how each justice voted, but the court appeared split between its conservatives and liberals, the same breakdown seen in two other recent cases about public sector unions.
Those unions cheered President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the court’s vacancy. But the Senate took no action on Garland’s nomination, President Donald Trump won the election and the union opponents rushed new cases to the court to challenge the union fee arrangement.
Union sentiment about Gorsuch was unvarnished when he was nominated and confirmed. ‘In Neil Gorsuch, Trump has nominated an extremist judge intent on overturning basic, well-established Supreme Court precedents,’ American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said.
Following Gorsuch’s Senate hearing, the Service Employees International Union said, ‘Throughout the last three days of testimony, Judge Gorsuch has again proved that he isn’t the kind of judge who gives working people a fair shot at justice.'”
For the rest of the story, read the full article at ABC News here.