The Supreme Court ruling on public sector unions — a victory for free speech or exploitation?

Minnesotans on both sides of the issue responded today.

Susie Jones
June 27, 2018 - 3:14 pm

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The Supreme Court ruled that government workers can't be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to organized labor. The justices are scrapping a 41-year-old decision that had allowed states to require that public employees pay some fees to unions that represent them, even if the workers choose not to join.

Minnesotans on both sides of the issue responded today.

What conservatives are saying: 

Kim Crocket is Vice President and General Council at Center of the American Experiment:

"We are delighted. We were expecting a 5-4 decision that would restore the first amendment rights of public employees by saying if you're not a member of the union, you're an agency fee payer, you cannot be forced to pay that fee to the union in order to keep your job."

What unions are saying: 

Teachers unions sharply criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court's Wednesday ruling on union fees say justices sided with wealthy business interests over the working class and public servants.

Education Minnesota, the state's largest teachers union also responded.

President Denise Specht:

"This is what I think it's really about. Working people are seeing that the system is rigged against them especially in this economy."

What to look for now: 

The key question is what longterm impact this will have on public sector unions. Specht said she does not believe people will leave the union because of the ruling, and instead says she sees more people than ever before are committed to the organizations.

Crocket noted that a lot may depend on how the ruling is interpreted. 

"Justice Alito said that agency fee payers and we'll see, maybe public employees in general, have to give their affirmative consent before an employer can deduct fees and other charges from their paycheck. So they are changing the public sector from an opt-out default, to an opt-in default," she said.