The unions. (Why I don't want to be part of them.)
So, today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released it's opinion on Harris v. Quinn.
The main question:
May a State, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the State for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs?The question we thought that it would settle is whether a person could be compelled to pay union dues without joining the union, just because of the job that he or she held?
The pivotal case of precedent was Abood v. Detroit Board Of Education, which had affirmed that they could, saying that it was fine to require share payment of those in the public sector who benefitted from collective bargaining agreements. The thinking was, "Hey, you benefitted from this agreement that gets you better wages and benefits, so you better pay up and not be a freeloader."
It puts in mind that guy who signs the card on the gift that he did not contribute anything to. Well that's not right, is it??!?
But to continue the analogy, consider the other employee who comes to you and says, "It's Bob's birthday. I bought him a new laptop. Everyone's chipping in $50. Cough it up." Well, that's not fair, either. First, I like $50. I need my $50. Also, this creates dangerous precedent. What about when it's Maria's birthday? And Gordon's birthday?* Are we going to do this EVERY year? And you get to decide how much I chip in? Can't I just opt out and not sign the card? I'm just trying to work, here.
You'll note that the cases are in Detroit, MI, and Illinois, where unions are a big deal. I myself find it amazing that a person can be compelled to pay union dues, and be told that it's okay, because they don't have to actually join the union; they only have to subsidize it.
As it is, Abood didn't get fully overturned, because the Court didn't find that the petitioners (contract employees receiving state subsidies for home health care) were the best fit. They didn't have good enough standing. But Justice Alito made clear that he is rubbing his palms together to receive a case that fits the issue best. As well he should.
Unions have done some good things in this country. The ability to belong to a union is of course nothing that I dispute. But they have generally gone too far, and the law as it has stood under Abood v. Detroit B.O.E. has been nothing less than a state requirement to join and subsidize a union.
I see current unions as doing crazy things. I know a local industrial manufacturer which employs union workers to make its trucks. Brand new employees with no more than high school diplomas can start working on the line at around $30 an hour, which sounds great... until they're laid off after a few months. When they get a big order, they recall the workers. There's no job continuity. If their union hadn't bargained so stiffly, these young men and women could keep $18/hour jobs (which is a living wage in Texas, I assure you), and not miss work.
I am a cop. I regularly hear about how police unions make it next to impossible to fire a dirty cop. And, in some places, that's embarrassingly true. Regular readers here may recall how I pushed for a letter-writing campaign to have Officer Harless with the Canton, OH PD fired after his incident, after which his union actually temporarily won his job back for him.
So excuse me if I don't particularly like unions. They make hard-working, honest employees look like lazy money-grabbers. They have hurt the reputation of my own profession, even while I work in a "Right To Work" state. It is jokingly stated that "Right To Work" really means "Right To Terminate," and there's some truth to that. I can be fired from my job pretty much any time. I don't have a union protecting me. Oh, I belong to the Texas Municipal Police Association, which provides me with legal insurance (I pay in monthly dues, and in exchange, I get a policy for up to a million bucks to pay for legit legal fees, in such instance as if I am sued), but that's not a union. I'm not entitled to my job or my badge. And I'm fine with that-- it means that I and my co-workers had best keep our walk on the straight and narrow.
I am embarrassed for public employees who feel otherwise.
*Or Big Bird's? Or Cookie Monster's? Sorry. The names came at random.