Government unions are in deep trouble. They can only blame themselves.

Feb 18, 2018 by

Photo by Hamish Duncan on Unsplash

No obscure Supreme Court ruling deserves its obscurity less than Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the transformational 1977 case in which the justices upheld mandatory dues for public-employee unions.

At the time, collective bargaining in the public sector was new, an outgrowth of broader social upheavals, which included 1,400 public-employee work stoppages nationwide between 1965 and 1970.

Abood assured these struggling organizations a steady flow of cash, derived ultimately from the same place government gets all its money: taxes. As a result, public-sector unions’ membership is 7.2 million today; they are bulwarks of the Democratic Party, thanks largely to their dues-filled campaign war chests.

On Feb. 26, however, the Supreme Court will hear a public worker’s request to overrule Abood. This new case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is as much a product of its times as Abood was 41 years ago.

[Decades in decline: The fall of unions in Maine]

Abood held that a government’s interest in stabilizing labor unions, by preventing workers covered by union contracts from “free-riding,” could outweigh workers’ right not to subsidize an organization with which they might disagree politically — provided that employees could opt out of the portion of dues that supported overt politics. (The mandatory remainder is known as an “agency fee.”)

Source: Government unions are in deep trouble. They can only blame themselves. — Contributors — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

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