Labor leaders blast Supreme Court for ‘politically motivated’ decision

Stephon Johnson | 7/12/2018, 12:41 p.m.

The fight with union dues dates back to the 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case where the Supreme Court ruled that workers were allowed to opt out of full union membership but still had to pay union dues. Labor leaders argued that because all workers were paid union wages regardless of membership, even unaffiliated workers should pay contract negotiating costs.

Janus’ legal representatives felt that Abood should be overruled because it failed to apply better First Amendment scrutiny to a compulsory fee for speech to influence governmental policies. The court agreed.

Tuesday, District Council 37 reached a tentative deal with the City of New York for a new contract. Less than 24 hours later, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido spoke on how important the process was and how he feels that the Supreme Court is out of touch with the American people.

“Today’s decision is appallingly out of sync with both public sentiment and the difficult times now faced by working families,” said Garrido in a statement. “As an antidote to the economic inequality that threatens the security and stability of our country, the labor movement is viewed more favorably by Americans (especially the young), than it has been in decades.”

But although the voices against the Supreme Court’s decision were loud, there were a few who celebrated the decision. Daniel DiSalvo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute (a conservative think tank), laid out why he felt this was a victory for free speech.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME is a major victory for public workers’ rights of freedom of speech and association,” said DiSalvo in a statement. “No longer will over 5 million state and local government workers be required to pay unions if they do not want to be members. Justice Alito points out that while all workers may benefit from union representation, such benefits are not sufficient grounds for infringing on some workers’ First Amendment rights. That is a reversal of the court’s flawed reasoning in the 1977 precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.”

“The Supreme Court has freed millions of American workers from manipulation by union bosses that misrepresent their interests,” added Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D., president and CEO of The Heartland Institute (an anti-union/free market think tank). “On the heels of this decision, every state should move quickly to certify that no American worker is ever compelled to give their hard-earned money to support self-serving union bosses.”