A recent union gambit in Democrat-led states like Minnesota and Illinois has home health care workers – people hired and managed by private individuals but funded by tax dollars – being declared public workers and forced to pay dues to public worker unions with collective bargaining agreements with the state.
But the Supreme Court struck down this expansion of precedent. Although they gave the status quo the hairy eyeball – Justice Alito’s majority opinion comes off as very skeptical of the idea that any worker should be compelled to pay dues to an organization he or she might disagree with – SCOTUS upholds it, but declines to extend it workers who are not public employees but rather merely funded by tax dollars.
You can read the full opinion and dissent here. From the conclusion:
Along the way to this conclusion, Alito asks an interesting question about forced payments to interest groups. He notes that a lot of groups advocate for things that benefit people outside of the group’s membership (I think of groups that advocate for lower taxes, for instance), and asks if it would be appropriate for the state to mandate payments to them:
Abood is a previous case which upheld mandatory dues payments in order to promote “labor peace” (stopping battles between rival unions) and to prevent “free ridership” (non-union employees benefitting from terms negotiated by unions).
Can you imagine how the left would react if, say, Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin ordered mandatory membership payments to a conservative group like, say, Americans for Tax Reform arguing – as unions do in these forced unionization cases – that citizens who benefit from lower taxes ought not get to be “free riders” who do so without paying dues?
The left would be apoplectic. As they should be. No citizen should be forced to support an organization they disagree with. But then, that calls into question all laws requiring support of a union.
There’s no question that a big chunk of the Democrats’ national power base is wrapped up in unions, and that the public sector is the last bastion of organized labor in America. This ruling shakes the foundations of that base, even if it doesn’t entirely tear it down.