The stacking of the U.S. Supreme Court with anti-union justices has allowed the right-to-work movement to circumvent, and undercut, pro-union state policies.
Co-published by International Business Times
Millions of public-sector workers could soon be targeted by conservative groups trying to dissuade them from paying union fees.
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 tie vote on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a lawsuit in which Rebecca Friedrichs, an Orange County public school teacher, and other plaintiffs sought to deny teachers unions the ability to collect from their members “fair share” fees for collective bargaining. Because of the high court deadlock, the case, widely backed by ultra-conservative and right-to-work groups, reverts to a lower-court ruling in favor of the teachers unions.
This outcome of the closely watched suit, which could have crippled public employee unions, had been expected following the February 13 death of conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. (Note: The CTA is a financial supporter of Capital & Main.)
Even as Saturday’s death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was setting the stage for what promises to be an incendiary battle of wills between Republican leaders in Congress and President Obama over naming a replacement for a man considered a cornerstone of the court’s conservative majority, California teachers and public-sector unions across the country were breathing a sigh of relief.
That’s because the 79-year-old Scalia, who died in his sleep on Saturday at a remote resort in West Texas, appeared to hint during last month’s oral arguments that he would vote along ideological lines with his fellow conservative justices in affirming the plaintiffs’ side in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in what most court observers were anticipating to be a 5-4 vote. That case, whose decision was expected by the end of June, seemed all but guaranteed to overturn the High Court’s 1977 Abood v.
Last Monday was an important day for America’s shrinking middle class. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could impose radical new limits on the rights of public-sector workers—like teachers, nurses and firefighters—to join together to win better lives for their families and communities.
What’s at stake is a basic democratic principle: All public workers that benefit from collective bargaining should be required to pay their fair share for those efforts.
So it’s no surprise that the Friedrichs lawsuit was filed by the Center for Individual Rights, a law firm with ties to anti-worker special interests—like the Koch brothers and ALEC.
These are the same interests that have spent decades campaigning to weaken the ability of working people to join together against corporate power and the interests of the One Percent.