Union Dues: The Supreme Court Ruling

Ken: It will definitely reduce the government unions’ political influence, and that’s good news for taxpayers, because it’ll put the government unions on more of a level playing field when they’re dealing with the government. So that’s a win for the taxpayers. It’s also a win for workers, because these unions are going to have to be more responsive to them and take better care of them.

Chuck: That’s Ken Girardin from the fiscally conservative empire Center for Public Policy. On the other side, the Governor and the union heads say this big U.S. Supreme Court decision will destroy the labor movement. And we are joined by our legal analyst, Chas Farcher from Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti. Hey Chas, how are you?

Chas: Good morning Chuck, how are you?

Chuck: Very good. So what do you make of this ruling and its impact? I mean, the Supreme Court said that when it comes to employees in the public sector, they can’t be forced to pay union dues.

Chas: Yeah, and you’ve played some clips of the differing views, so it really depends on how you look at it. I mean, it’s either a big win for First Amendment people, who think that having to pay union dues for a union that maybe they don’t necessarily agree with their stances on certain issues, it’s a victory for First Amendment rights and freedom of speech, and I shouldn’t have to endorse a private entity that doesn’t really represent my beliefs. And, you know, if you’re on the other side of this, then you think that this is a huge blow to the labor movement, to unions in New York, and New York is the most unionized state in the country. So it’s really a big deal here, and I guess it depends on how you interpret it.

Kelly: So, I guess people who don’t want to be in the union, not requiring them to give money, how does that possibly say that they’re taking away any power in the unions? Because they can still unionize, they can still be active. There’s nothing that says they can’t be.

Chas: Right, and I think that’s exactly right. Good morning, Kelly. You know, the way it shapes up is this, right? I mean, when it comes to politics, when it comes to power, there’s two things that you usually need. If you look at any other group that’s comparable, not necessarily in ideology, but in terms of what these groups do, is that they’re a unified mouthpiece for their members.

So if you look at a group, say, like the NRA in comparison, it’s about two things. It’s about, one, membership, and it’s about, two, money, that you have to spend on people to represent you, lobbyists, whatever it might be, you know? So the position on the other side would be that this is a blow to unions because they anticipate membership will drop by anywhere from 10% to 30%. Because a lot of people are only members of the union because they are already forced to pay for it anyway, so why not be a member? I’m kind of indifferent, I’m on the fence, I have no choice. If I’m going to pay for agency fees, I might as well be a member of the union.

Well now, I have a choice, and if I’m not going to be a member of the union, I don’t have to pay the dues. So I don’t wanna be a member of the union. So they’re anticipating a drop in, one, union membership. Two, these agency fees make up anywhere from 50% to 80% of the funding that most of these unions receive, so with people no longer being forced to pay that, they’re anticipating a large drop in funding over the next year, as well.

Chuck: Speaking to our legal analyst Chas Farcher from Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti. The other big story coming out of the Supreme Court yesterday, of course, Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the swing votes, announces he’s gonna retire at the end of this month. And I’ve heard legal experts, and you are one, like Pete Williams on NBC last night, said he doesn’t think it’s very likely at all that, like, Roe v. Wade, or gay marriage will be overturned. Doesn’t think that’s likely at all. I’ve heard other people saying within 18 months, you know, abortion’s gonna be illegal in 20 states. What do you think the impact will be of Kennedy leaving and Trump putting somebody else on the high court?

Chas: The Supreme Court gets asked to hear 7,000 to 8,000 cases a year, and of that they only pick about 100, sometimes less. So maybe as many as 150. So, you know, it really depends on which cases come up on the docket. But what I would say is this, is that Kennedy’s kind of the swing vote on the Court. You really have four pretty staunch conservatives, and you got four, you know, liberal justices, and you got Kennedy kind of in the middle. So with him retiring, all of the people that are on the potential replacement list are more than likely to be more conservative than he was.

So if nothing else, I think it pushes the Court to a more conservative place in the future than where it is currently. And as to which cases come up on the docket, really up to the Court in terms of what they wanna hear and what they decide to hear. But either way, if I were a betting man, I’d bet the decisions would be more conservative in the future than they have been in the past. We may be looking at one of the most conservative courts we’ve had in our lifetime, anyway.

Chuck: You think it’s likely, like, they’d take up abortion? I mean, there’s been a long-standing ruling on the books for decades now.

Chas: You know, it’s not normal for the Supreme Court to go back and, you know, overturn a lot of their precedent, unless you have some real change in the law, or some real change in public policy or something like that, you know? So it’s not necessarily something that I would expect, but, you know, it may be something that these particular justices are looking for. It was something that was talked about a lot on the campaign trail, and the list of 25 replacement justices that President Trump had put forth previously, you know, were all justices that, you know, he selected, one, because they had this issue somewhere on their radar, and two, it was an issue that he had discussed. So not up to President Trump, it’s up to the Court, you know? Generally they don’t overrule past precedent that easily, but it’s something that seems to be on the radar, and it is a hot button issue these days.

Chuck: WGY. Political analyst Chas Farcher from Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti. Nice talking to you, Chas.

Chas: You too, Chuck. Bye, Kelly.

Kelly: Bye, Chas.