Janus vs. AFT

Here’s a look at the AFT’s take for the Janus case.  Filed with the Supreme Court last week, the Janus v. AFSCME could end forced dues for all teachers and other government employees. The decision will not affect government employee unions’ existence, but rather make they work for their members.  Their rhetoric includes words such as “crippling blow,” “dodged a bullet,” “declining labor movement,” implying they are anticipating great harm will come to labor unions.  It seems labor union officials should be concentrating on how they can attract more members, instead of forcing them to pay dues.  While they speak of labor unions as being architects of democracy, there has yet to exist a democracy that forces their citizens to pay dues.

Trump has appointed an individual to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, who has generally sided with corporations against workers and may well provide the deciding vote to strip public sector unions of their ability to collect dues from “free riders”—employees who benefit from collective bargaining but do not wish to pay for it. Doing so would deal a crippling blow to public sector unions, a vibrant sector of America’s declining labor movement.36 Public sector unions dodged a bullet when the Supreme Court, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, deadlocked on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in 2016. But conservatives are hoping a new case, Janus v. AFSCME, will provide a second bite at the apple with Gorsuch on board.

The assault on organized labor is deeply troubling in part because labor unions, along with the civil rights movement, can be “architects of democracy,” in the words of Martin Luther King Jr.37