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The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait in the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, October 8, 2010. Seated from left to right in front row are: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice A
Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the latest of a series of cases that have the potential to dramatically weaken unions. In Harris v. Quinn, an Illinois home care worker, backed by a major anti-union organization, is challenging the fair share fees paid by public employees who are not union members but benefit from contracts negotiated by unions. These fees cover the cost of negotiating for and representing workers, but no political activity by the union. The charge in this case is that those fees represent, not work done to improve wages and working conditions for home care workers, but forced speech, making it a First Amendment issue.

The Supreme Court previously ruled in favor of fair share fees in a 1977 case, but this is the Roberts Court. As Ian Millhiser writes:

No one, with the possible exception of disenfranchised voters in North Carolina, has fared worse before the Roberts Court than working men and women. Under Chief Justice John Roberts’ leadership, the Court largely wrote a key protection for victims of sexual or racial harassment out of the law. It made it easier for employers to retaliate against workers who file civil rights complaints. It gave employers an easy way to immunize themselves from class action lawsuits brought by their workers. And, of course, there was that whole unequal pay for equal work case involving Lilly Ledbetter.
As high as the stakes are for public workers, they are also high for senior citizens, disabled people, and those who may someday be elderly or disabled. Harris v. Quinn centers on home care workers, after all. The background is this:
In Illinois 10 years ago, 28,000 home health workers who care for adults with disabilities approved a union. Since then, hourly wages have nearly doubled, the workers now receive regular training, and they have health insurance. The state says as a result, the workforce has been stabilized and professionalized, and the government has saved money by keeping adults with disabilities in their homes.
If you or someone you love needs care, do you want the choices to involve a nursing home or home care paying poverty wages, with the attendant high turnover? State governments don't pay decent wages out of kindness; unions can't bargain strong contracts if they don't have resources. We're talking about quality of care here, about people's ability to live in their own homes or hold jobs, as we'll see below the fold.

Many of the workers' patients, or customers as they are known, were also on hand Tuesday; among them, Rahnee Patrick, who sat calmly in a wheelchair as the snow pelted her hat and coat.

"I had a personal assistant come to me at 5 o'clock in the morning in my house," Patrick told the crowd gathered on the snowy steps of the Supreme Court. "She rode an hour in the snow, from the North Side of Chicago. Why was she so dedicated? Not because I'm lovely, but because she gets a really good wage, and the wage came from the unions being able to collectively bargain. I can actually go to work, and it's because of her being able to pay her own bills that I'm able to pay my bills."

"We can't afford it and higher wages for home care workers will have to come out of the amount of care disabled and elderly people receive" is a longstanding Republican argument on this one. But that's in the same class of arguments as "we can't afford to fix that bridge" and "we can't afford to educate our nation's children." How can we not afford it?

We won't know the Supreme Court's decision on Harris v. Quinn for a while. The tea leaf readers suggest that this one may hinge on Justice Antonin Scalia's vote. SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston writes:

In the end, it may not happen, but the demise of public employee unionism was at least on the table for lively discussion in a Supreme Court argument Tuesday morning.  The case of Harris v. Quinn would only spell doom for government workers’ collective action, it appeared, if Justice Antonin Scalia could be persuaded to join in doing it in; there just might be enough other votes. [...]

What would turn out to be potentially decisive, though, was the Justice Scalia appeared determined to take away from [anti-union lawyer William] Messenger his basic argument that public employee union activity is more about shaping public policy — with implications for the First Amendment — than about the traditional union role of seeking to improve the working conditions of those it represents.

At Reuters, Amanda Becker writes:
The U.S. Supreme Court seemed unlikely on Tuesday to embrace a sweeping argument advanced by a group of Illinois state employees that paying mandatory union dues violates their free-speech rights.
We can hope that's right, but it's not necessarily an all-or-nothing game. Even a decision that doesn't go all the way to abolishing fair share fees could restrict unions' ability to organize and bargain on behalf of public workers. For now, we wait.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:29 AM PST.

Also republished by Hellraisers Journal and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  workers @ Dread Scott SC should go on STRIKE (6+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:35:34 AM PST

    •  It's only massive unemployment (6+ / 0-)

      largely caused by outsourcing that is keeping workers in line.  Should employment opportunities expand, I expect labor problems rivaling those of the early 20th century to occur since labor rights have been systematically been taken away or not enforced since the 1980s.

      Workers are pissed that all their productivity gains are going exclusively to the top.  

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:18:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  U want rights? UNIONIZE, then DEMAND RIGHTS (9+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:36:18 AM PST

  •  After Citizens United... (16+ / 0-)

    all bets are off.

    The Supremes' ruling on Citizens United showed that the ruling majority are fascists.

    Of course they'll rule against the labor movement. It's a no-brainer. They are against citizen participation in political and economic discourse. They are entirely in favor of corporate ownership of government. And that's what we'll get.

    •  The Court speaks for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (9+ / 0-)

      Once this is appreciated the rationale for its jurisprudence becomes clear. Citizens United was decided so dollars could speak louder than people; Obamacare was upheld to preserve the Court's legitimacy while simultaneously weakening the scope of federal regulation under the Commerce Clause. There can be little doubt that the Roberts Court will weaken public sector unions in this case; the only question, as in the Obamacare case, is how far to go without undermining the Court's perceived legitimacy by being too "political." Roberts is playing a skilled and long term game to make the law safe for the Chamber of Commerce; he doesn't have to win everything at once.

  •  money is not free speech (11+ / 0-)

    I am tired of this tired old argument.  Money is not equivalent to free speech.   Human communications takes place for free, without any money required.
    Labor Unions depend upon solidarity among the workers.  The workers voluntarily form labor unions and incur dues and other obligations as part of being a member.  All the members benefit from it.  That is how it works.
    "United we stand, Divided we fall"  -- an age proven adage.
    America stands with it's Labor Unions!

  •  Not just weaken unions, but make (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matthew D Jones, chuckvw, divineorder

    all hiring and firing decisions subject to challenge on constitutional civil rights grounds, as the SCt overrules precedent saing that routine employment matters are not of const. concern.

    That's going to be a horrible mess for the states.  

  •  Change the diary title and you have the answer (4+ / 0-)
    Will the Supreme Court take its latest chance to weaken unions?
    Change to:
    The Supreme Court will take its latest chance to weaken unions.
  •  I don't know that it's entirely clear-cut, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, Dirtandiron

    I'd incline toward a negative decision.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.  

    "Where some see a system for encouraging discussion . . . others see an echo chamber of bad grammar, unchecked stupidity, and constructive interference . . . " -- Ars Technica

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:52:49 AM PST

  •  retired union member (4+ / 0-)

    The "man" giveth and the "man" taketh it away.  If unions depend on government for assistance, workers lose eventually.  Sadly, short sighted selfishness rules our world, nobody wants to pay extra to have services supplied.  Unions were born through struggle--using muscle--- unions will perish without that same muscle.  It would be nice if money supplied that muscle--ain't happening anymore.
    If we want strong unions, we need union leaders to call strikes.  We need union solidarity.  We need picket lines to be protected.  Asking--begging--for political help will only be temporarily successful, at best.  The union movement has lost power for the last 35 years-- because the wealthy have always been their enemy.  We need leadership--we need the grandchildren of Walter Reuther and John Lewis and Al Shanker to lead us back to the promised land.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:55:34 AM PST

    •  Loss of support (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew

      Public unions have lost support because, when they do strike, they strike against the public.  

      How else should the public react?

      •  with (0+ / 0-)

        FEAR--there are very few benefits with begging.  When one side mugs, the other side is often forced to mug better.

        Actions speak louder than petitions.

        by melvynny on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:20:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously?? Really seriously?? (0+ / 0-)

          From your profile, I see you are a "Retired NYC teacher--UFT chapter leader. "

          You really think the public, who pays your salary and needs to support your mission should actually be afraid of you??

          No wonder the right wing is winning on this issue.

          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

            Woody Alan made fun of Al Shanker--the press hated the teacher's union--salaries doubled twice within 10 years.  Playing by their rules means you lose--that's why they use those rules.  Do you think the coal miners union wasn't feared?  How about the UAW?  
            There are 2 main teacher's unions-- the polite NEA --which is weak--and the AFT which was strong until recently.  Leo Durocher was right--nice guys finish last.

            Actions speak louder than petitions.

            by melvynny on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:26:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bring on the vouchers! (0+ / 0-)

              Your view is short sighted and damaging.  Public sector animosity undermines private sector unions and public sector funding.

              The right wing uses folks like you to undermine the whole idea of public service, and it is working.

  •  Scalia may be the swing vote, believe it or not (4+ / 0-)

    He gave several indications during oral arguments that he may rule in favor of the unions, if I recall correctly.

    There are three natural adversaries of the progressive movement: Republicans, the Democratic establishment, and the mainstream media

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:56:28 AM PST

    •  Perhaps if he really respects the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Eric Nelson

      constitution, he could note that there is no justification in the text of the constitution for barring public employee unions, and that Kennedy's notion of a First Amendment Right to public debate of all details of an employees pay and working conditions is profoundly silly. But who knows, sillier things have been found (esp. in Citizens United).

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:49:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hope you're right n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:00:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the interesting aspects of the case (6+ / 0-)

    is that all but one of the Petitioners in the case is someone caring for a family member (often in their own home) who is reimbursed by the Medicaid program.  So,  for the most part, you are not necessarily talking about third parties for whom there will be "a lot of turnover."  If you are interested, you can read the briefs of the parties here.

    So, one of the issues is if a person cares for an elderly disabled parent in their own home and gets reimbursed by Medicaid, must they belong to the union and pay union fees out of their Medicaid reimbursement?  

    If this were solely about third parties who provide the care as a way to earn a living (such as people who are employed by an entity that sends people out to do that work) it might be an easier case, I think.  

  •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, chuckvw

    What else can one expect from this court?

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:00:01 AM PST

  •  The 5 SCOTUS injustices (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, chuckvw

    will not hesitate to weaken unions. I'd bet money on it. These men do not like democracy. They've made that clear.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:05:27 AM PST

  •  Forced Union Dues - For caring for her child (8+ / 0-)

    You can talk about labor rights and wrongs all you want.  But, it is dishonest to leave out the key facts in this case for spin.

    1.  Josh Harris, a 24 year old suffers from a rare genetic malady that leaves him physically and intellectually crippled.

    2.  His Mother, receives a $2,100 a month stipend from Illinois to help care for him at home.  This is a form of welfare benefit to keep families together.

    3.  In 2009, Governor Quinn by executive order started treating family home care givers like they were public worker employees - but gave them no real benefits - except they now had to pay dues out of their stipends to the SEIU.

    4.  Since implementing the order, the change in status has deducted $52 million that would have gone to patient care and directed it into Union accounts.

    This is not a typical employee/employer relationship and forced unionization of parents caring for children and deduction of union dues here is morally wrong.

    •  So, why can't they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Capt Crunch

      change the law so that family providing services are not included in the definition of public worker employees?

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:20:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Supreme Court can't do that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, nextstep, Justanothernyer

        They can only rule on the Constitutionality of the law that is before them.

        It would be up to the state to do that.  

        •  I was talking (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Capt Crunch, Dirtandiron

          about the legislature or whoever wrote the implementing regulations, not the SC.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:03:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Supremes (0+ / 0-)

          The Supreme Court will rule on whether the law as implemented is a violation of Ms. Harris' first amendment right to free association, in that it forces her to be in the union when she doesn't want to remain in the Union.

          •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

            ... she's not in a union, and has never been forced to be in a union, and has never been forced to pay one penny in dues.

            Why do you keep spreading false information?

          •  You're wrong (0+ / 0-)

            The Governor's order put her under the representation of the SEIU.  Even though she gains no benefits from that representation.  However, union dues are deducted from the benefit that is paid for her son's care.

            •  NO... (0+ / 0-)

              ... I am not wrong.  The Governor's EO granted collective bargaining rights to the workers.  The EO did NOT put them in a union.

              Pam Harris is not in a union and doesn't pay a penny of dues.

              Seriously -- you need to get your facts straight.

            •  BTW... (0+ / 0-)

              ...here is the link to Quinn's executive order:

              http://www.illinois.gov/...

              Read it... and tell me how it puts the workers under the representation of SEIU?

              Further...if the EO put the workers under the representation of SEIU, why, then, did the workers have an election between SEIU, AFSCME, and no union?  (No union won, by the way, which is why Pam Harris doesn't have a union or pay any dues).

              Also... you may want to take a look at what happened at the 7th circuit.  The court rules that Harris's argument was moot, as they don't have a union and don't pay an dues.

              But maybe the 7th circuit was wrong about basic facts??

      •  Money (0+ / 0-)

        They were included in the group because it beefed up union dues and was a political favor from the Governor to the unions.  The problem is seen as a benefit to a political ally.

        •  No... (0+ / 0-)

          ...the family members were included in the group because they are part of the group of home care workers.  There family status is irrelevant to whether or not the state is the employer for certain functions of the employment relationship.

          •  Not an employment relationship (0+ / 0-)

            That's the key - the state treats this as an employee/employer relationship when it isn't - creating a false situation that allows for the deduction of dues when it shouldn't.

            •  Sorry... (0+ / 0-)

              ...but based on how little you know about the rest of this case, I'm not sure how you speak credibly about the employment relationship.  

              Again, Pam Harris and the HBSS workers, the group given collective bargaining rights through Quinn's Exec Order, don't have a union and don't pay any dues.  

              The other group of workers involved in this case do have a union, do pay dues, and have a clear employment relationship with the state, where the state not only pays wages (and yes, its wages, not a stipend or a welfare payment or a Medicaid payment), benefits, as well as sets certain standards for employment (mandatory orientation, mandatory training, background check, etc).  

    •  I made the same point above. (7+ / 0-)

      a large part of this is about money that Medicaid pays people to reimburse them for the cost of caring for a disabled family member in their own home.  

      This is not at all the typical union/employer situation. As I understand it, these family members do not get benefits (like state employees do) that were negotiated by the union.  

      It's harder to justify taking union dues out of the Medicaid reimbursements paid to family members for care in their own home.  That complicates this case, I think.

    •  Thanks for that clarification.. (6+ / 0-)

      Most people, including Laura seem to not be aware of those facts.

      The problem is that these are not really Illinois public employees.  Governor Quinn was wrong in declaring them so, and has been roundly criticized here in Illinois for this move that is a blatant giveaway to his union backers.

      I agree it is morally wrong.  

      I don't want to see the rights of ALL home health care workers to unionize be thrown away by the court, but these people should never have been declared state employees for the sole purpose of paying union dues.  They receive no other state employee benefits or considerations.

      Quinn's likely opponent this fall will be Republican Bruce Rauner who's ads slam Quinn for letting the state be run by "union bosses".  The publicity generated by this case will not help Quinn in the elections in November.

      •  Gov. Quinn is to blame for this situation, I agree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Sparhawk, JJ In Illinois

        it was wrong to declare people like that to be part of the "public workers union." They are not "public workers" -- they get none of the benefits, none of the protections, etc.

        As I understand it, they simply get a check to reimburse them for costs.  And that check is diminished by Union dues.

      •  How much are these dues (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, JJ In Illinois

        that it's such a burden? Is it a flat fee, or a percentage of the payments? And does the union represent these people in terms of the amount they are paid?

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:06:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Harris is being charged $600/yr for dues (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JJ In Illinois

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:31:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  FALSE (0+ / 0-)

            This is blatantly false.  

            Pamela Harris has not paid one penny in dues.  She, and her fellow HBSS home care workers, voted against the union, so have no union to pay dues to.  

            A different group of workers (personal assistants in the Home Services Program), who have had a union for 10 years, due pay dues.  

            •  If Harris is not being charged fees to support the (0+ / 0-)

              union, why does Connell Law say one of the issues before SCOTUS is:

              Can a State compel in-home caregivers to financially support a union to be their exclusive representative for collective-bargaining purposes?  
              Or are you quibbling over my use of "dues" instead of fees?

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:15:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No... (0+ / 0-)

                ... I have said there numerous times on this page.  I even said it in the comment above.  

                There are TWO different groups of workers involved.

                Pam Harris is part of the HBSS program.  In the briefs this is the called the Disability Program.  They don't have a union, and are not paying any dues.

                The other group of workers are personal assistants in the Home Services Program, or the "Rehabilitation Program" in the briefs. They are in a union, and pay dues, and non-members are required to pay their fair share fees to support the cost of collectively bargaining and representation.  

                Once again, Pam Harris has not paid a cent to the union.  That is a fact.  

    •  No, not morally wrong... (5+ / 0-)

      No, it's not morally wrong for workers covered by a union contract to pay union dues/fees.

      Despite the personal circumstances of the Harris family, this is a run-of-the-mill union dues/fees case, where select individuals are looking to be free riders, and getting encouragement and support from the zealots at the National Right To Work Foundation.

      Decades of jurisprudence have confirmed the right of unions to collect dues/fees, and Foundation dirtbags are trying to cloak this as a First Amendment issue as part of its never-ending crusade to cripple all unions.  

    •  If unions provide no advantages to these workers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      why doesn't the bargaining unit vote to decertify?

      Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:47:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At a guess you probably have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        two groups of people who are covered by the bargaining unit, one who consist of those caring for family members who should have been excluded and are now suing and one consisting of third party workers who constitute the majority and voted to belong to a union.

        •  um, no (0+ / 0-)

          there are eight people suing.  You're presuming that those who care for family members, if treated as a separate bargaining unit, would not have also voted to unionize.  Aside from eight cranks, what is your evidence?

          Because it sounds to me that these are just garden-variety anti-union idiots.  

          Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

          by happymisanthropy on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:04:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  They are being paid union negotiated wages let (0+ / 0-)

      them pay the fucking dues! If they don't like it, then don't accept the wages from the government. THey want to get paid the union wages but not the dues, screw them.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:09:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If they want to get paid the union wages, let them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      pay the dues!

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:16:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some actual facts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Darth Stateworker

      Lets respond to you points one by one:

      1 - this isn't really relevant to the questions at hand.  But, he isn't crippled.  He is a person with disabilities.  

      2 - This is NOT a form of welfare payment.  This is payment for work provided.

      3 - Lots of things wrong here.  You are correct that Quinn issued an executive order to grant home care workers in the HBSS program collective bargaining rights.  Many are family members, but many are not.  They most definitely are not ALL family members.  But they are not paying ANY dues at all right now.  All the EO did was grant collective bargaining rights.  What happened was that there was an election between SEIU, AFSCME, and "no union".  No union won the election, so this group of workers does not have a union, is not forced into a union, and is not paying any dues.  

      4 - Again, blatantly false. This "change of status" from Quinn's EO has not led to ANY money being deducted.

      The $52M that you refer to is coming from a different set up workers -- personal assistants in the Home Services Program.  This group of workers won collective bargaining rights in 2003 - first as an Executive Order, which was then codified into statute with a bi-partisan, near unanimous vote.  After winning collective bargaining rights, this groups of workers eventually won recognition from SEIU, and have seen their wages increase from $7 to $13 (it will be $13 at the end of the current contract), have won health insurance for the first time, have won things training, orientations, access to gloves, etc.  

      Further... the fact that it is a family member does not change the fact that they are still workers.  And, in fact, many of the personal assistants that are actually in the union, and paying dues, are family members and swear by the union and the improvements that it has brought to their lives.  The same is true about disability advocates and consumers who are grateful for the increased stability in the program and the much easier access to a personal assistant (its much easier to hire someone at $12/hour than $7/hour).  

      One more thing -- this isn't forced unionization.  If they don't don't to be members, they don't have to be.  But they do still have to pay their "fair share" of the collective bargaining costs.  Because, even if they are not members of the union that represents them, they still benefit from all pay increases, benefits, etc that the union negotiates.  The union is also required to represent them in discipline and grievance proceedings, even if the worker is not in the union.

      So yea -- you might not want to talk about leaving out "key facts" when you your "facts" are not even true.

      •  In this case being a family member is highly (0+ / 0-)

        relevant.  Also, these are not, to the family, wages, but Medicaid payments.  

        This makes it rather unlike the normal unionization case and the statute should have been written to allow full opt out of family members providing care to family members from being part of the union, with appropriate safeguards to prevent abuse.

        And lets be clear - this is forced unionization.  We have decided - correctly - that unions can't exist if free riders are allowed.   Collective bargaining, not lobbying or politics, is the core of the union.

        •  Except... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Darth Stateworker

          ...it isn't just family members.

          I assume you also believe that if the family members fully opt out, they should also be forced to fully opt out of any increases in pay or benefits?  

          •  These aren't wages to the family member but (0+ / 0-)

            Medicaid payments.   Suggesting that a poor or disabled person should have to forego Medicaid benefits is not cool.

            (The idea of requiring poor or disabled people to join a union or similar entity to receive benefits is interesting, but problematic.)

            The statute should have originally defined the bargaining unit to exclude family members.  

    •  How is that $2,100 stipend set? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      If it is set through negotiations with the union, then family home care givers should pay the fee to the union.  If it is not set through negotiations with the union, then they should not be forced to pay the union fee.

      The bottom line is that paying for representation is reasonable...so only if they're not getting that representation would I think that they shouldn't have to pay.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:55:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is sick. (0+ / 0-)

      And people wonder why unions are so hated these days.

  •  Until just a few years ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    I would never have believed the SCOTUS could be bought and paid for by anybody, I always thought they would be above it. Seems things are changing, god help our great country, things don't look good at all.

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:08:45 AM PST

    •  Until a few years ago (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      politicalceci, Dirtandiron, orlbucfan

      The little people of this country - the humble and the powerless - could look to SCOTUS for justice.  Justices such as William O. Douglas and Hugo Black and Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan really believed this.  

      Justice Douglas wrote in his autobiography that a seedy looking man once approached him, shook his hand, and identified himself as Clarence Gideon of Gideon v. Wainwright fame.  Mr. Gideon told the justice  that he had always wanted to meet him to thank him personally and to tell him ' "I've done a lot of terrible things in my life, but I didn't commit that crime."  Imagine a Clarence Gideon today walking up to Roberts or Alito or Scalia or Thomas or Kennedy, to thank him.

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:27:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can public workers be exploited? (0+ / 0-)

    I see the nonsense of right-to-work laws in the private sector, where it is common to find an employer who wants his employees to work more hours for less. Such laws mean that workers benefit from unionization, but don't pay their dues. I can't see huge abuse happening in the public sector very often though. And there definitely are issues with public sector unionization. In some states, the way this works is that unions collect mandatory dues from public workers, use the money to support their preferred candidates, who then negotiate sweetheart deals, furthering a vicious cycle that has hit many governments hard. Collective bargaining works if you have management on one side, labor on another. There might be some issues though if you have labor unions on one side and union-backed politicians on the other. The AFL-CIO even stated some time in the 1940s or 1950s that the only union right public workers should have is to petition Congress, a privilege enjoyed by every citizen. To be sure, in many states unions have managed to reach sometimes painful agreements at times of crisis. In states like CA though, some public unions have claimed that once an employee is hired, you can never increase his pension or health insurance contributions, which I find ridiculous given that oftentimes the contributions are a fraction of what a comparable private-sector worker would pay. Not to mention that many Democratic governors and legislatures in the country have required public workers to pay more to their pensions, so it can hardly be seen as a union-busting tactic.

    •  Most people here are not "public workers" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      as that term is typically used.  Instead, they are family members caring or a disabled family member in their own home.  They get Medicaid reimbursements.  They aren't "workers" with benefits in the way people would normally use that term.

      That is discussed in the briefing on the case.

    •  You are repeating RW talking points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      kind of trollish, IMHO.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with dirtandiron above. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      You are repeating right wing talking points.

      Let's address your first issue:  Whether or not public sector employees need unions because they work for government.  You say:

      I can't see huge abuse happening in the public sector very often though.
      Let's put this in the appropriate perspective for you:  When (and note I say when, not if) government decides to ignore labor law, what exactly is it going to do?  Sue itself?  It is the entity employing the workers and the entity charged with enforcing the law.  You don't see a conflict there?

      Now, before you go off running on about how a benevolent government employer never breaks labor law, incredulously stating that it just doesn't and can't happen, know that that kind of thinking is just plain obtuse and wrong.  Stories can be found of governments breaking labor law just as much as any other employer if one decides to dig and look for them.  However, they are usually local stories and don't make it into the national news.  I can think of one example right off the top of my head from a year or two ago, where an entire state office building in the Albany area had plumbing backed up so badly that the employees could not use the bathrooms in the building at all for an entire day.  Labor law requires restroom facilities and a clean working environment.  Both provisions were broken, meaning the building should have been shut down until the problems were resolved.  They were not, and employees were required to stay on the job.  Do you think government sued itself over those violations?  Of course not.

      As far as public sector unions "using campaign monies to work to hire their own bosses", again, are you that naive?  Do you think the workers in Wisconsin "elected their own boss?"  For that matter, even in New York, do you think we "elected" Andrew Cuomo the 3rd Way, no-friend-to-unions Republicrat?  The idea that public sector unions somehow control politicians is so asinine that it boggles the mind, because there is no actual empirical evidence to support such nonsense.

      As far as "never diminishing a workers contracted benefits", such as you complain about in California (but didn't phrase correctly), it's a typical right-wing bucket-of-crabs argument.  The problem isn't that public sector workers have been able to hang on to the kinds of guaranteed benefits most workers used to have.  The problem is that many private sector workers no longer have those benefits.  In other words, the fight should be to bring back such benefits for more workers, and not to continue the downward spiral by stripping them from even more workers.

      Honestly, your post is so dangerously close to being nothing but right wing talking points I was originally tempted to HR it.

      •  I should add: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        the real irony of the labor law violations in question over unsanitary conditions is that the building in question housed...

        ...the state Labor Department.

        Obviously, the union filed a grievance.  The union won the grievance.  The state was advised never to do this again by the arbitrator.  However, without the union, nothing would have happened at all to correct the issue.

        So again, the idea that government is and will always be a benevolent employer and as such, government workers don't need unions is, well, idiotic and naive to say the least.

      •  Re (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bananapouch1
        As far as public sector unions "using campaign monies to work to hire their own bosses", again, are you that naive?  Do you think the workers in Wisconsin "elected their own boss?"
        They tried to and failed. But public unions succeed in this manner in many other places.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:18:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's an idea: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron

          Provide actual examples of this, not just assertions in the abstract.

          If this supposed arm-twisting is so prevalent, you should be able to provide hundreds of examples after searching for just a minute or two on Google, no?

          Think about that one for a second before you continue along with your usual trollish talking points, Sparhawk.

          •  Example: the entire state of California (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bananapouch1

            Try firing a teacher there.

            It is impossible.

            Public unions are extremely politically influential organizations who tend to get supported candidates into office. I can't believe you would seriously disagree with this proposition.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:01:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So teachers having tenure (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              and getting gasp due process when accused of bad performance or behavioral issues on the job is an example of this "arm twisting" because "reasons".

              Uh, no.  Try again, Slick.

              •  I care about tenure and due process (0+ / 0-)

                Only to the degree that they maximize instructional quality.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:18:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  This varies by state but in New York tenure for (0+ / 0-)

                teachers is far more extensive then the due process protections afforded other workers.

                •  Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

                  Do you trolls run in a flock or something?

                  •  So you'd be willing to have dismissals against (0+ / 0-)

                    teachers heard before an administrative law judge working for the government instead of an independent arbitrator chosen with input from the union?

                    •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

                      The entire idea that arbitrators are somehow not "impartial" because they are chosen both by the employer and the employee is bunk.  I have sat before plenty of arbitrators, and I most certainly haven't questioned the integrity of even on of them.

                      So if you want to assert arbitrators are in the pockets of unions - provide empirical evidence of such.

                      However, since I feel that both an arbitrator and an ALJ can be, should be, and are impartial 3rd parties - it really doesn't matter.  If anti-unionists like yourself would quit fucking bitching if ALJs were used instead, I'm all for the change.  However, when you found that cases were not adjudicated in the manner you expected (more terminations), would you then start bitching again?  I suspect that's highly likely.

                      You - and others like you - don't seem to get the point of arbitration: just like any other due process, the accusing party has to make its case.  And it's not even that fucking difficult - the standard is only a preponderance of evidence.  It is not beyond a reasonable doubt.  In other words - when management fails to make a case for termination - either they had no case to begin with, or they did a piss-poor job of properly documenting the reasons for termination.  That isn't the fault of teachers, or unions, or whoever.  That falls squarely on the shoulders of management - they're the ones who document the case.  Again, this isn't rocket science.  As I noted above - I've been on both sides of the table - and on the management side, I never had any issues with the arbitrators - because I documented the poor performance and bad behavior that was the basis of the case meticulously.  

                      Nor does even the tiniest infraction merit dismissal in the first place.  This is another reason why management racks up poor performance numbers in front of arbitrators - asking for a penalty that doesn't fit the issue.

                      To properly understand how a disciplinary system based on due process works, look to the justice system.  Just as you're not going to lock someone up for life for getting into a small bar fight for the first time in their lives, your not going to fire an employee because they showed up 4 hours late to work one day.  In both cases, the penalties will be small.  However, show a pattern of bad behavior over time, and you're going to start getting progressively larger penalties.  The difference in arbitrations is generally office politics - the person management is bringing up on charges in many cases is simply someone management has a bug up their ass over, and is looking for any little reason to nit pick to bring charges, and because of said bug up their ass, asks for unreasonable penalties that they think in their minds are reasonable.  Arbitrators can in many cases sense when such bullshit is happening.

                      But whatever - if impartial ALJs reviewing cases instead of impartial arbitrators reviewing cases would placate the anti-unionistas - whatever.  If it will shut you people the hell up - go for it.

                      •  Another thing to note. (0+ / 0-)

                        After thinking about it, quite a few of the arbitrators I've sat in front of were retired ALJs looking to supplement their income.

                        As such, once again, and even more emphatically - I say go for it if you anti-unionistas would quit your bitching about tenure and disciplinary case outcomes...  Because you're essentially asking many of the same people to simply hear these cases earlier in their careers while they are still employed, and not simply for a few extra bucks in retirement.

                        •  Oddly, in view of your contentions (0+ / 0-)

                          one does not seem to hear of similar problems terminating poor employees in other areas of the civil service as one does with teachers.

                          People working for the government may be more interested in arriving at the truth; arbitrators may want to be selected again.

                          •  Your assertion is bunk. (0+ / 0-)

                            You see people making the exact same nonsense claim about other civil servants all over the internet.  You're either lying or you don't pay very close attention.

                          •  At this point we are talking to each other (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not sure what the point of impugning my motives are.  

                            I've not found credible reports of similar issues arising with respect to public employees in New York other than teachers.

                            If, however you have a credible source alleging problems terminating public employees in New York other than teachers, I'm willing to evaluate it.

                          •  Read any fucking blog (0+ / 0-)

                            where people are complaining about civil servants.  The same accusation is just as rampant for other civil servants as they are for tenured teachers. Rampant. As in "happens all the time."  As such, I reiterate my previous statement and further amend it: You're either lying about having not seen such accusations, aren't paying attention while you read such blogs, or you're simply trolling me.

                            And that "trolling" feeling I get is exactly why you think we're "talking at each other" - because your nonsense assertions and allegations simply seem like the efforts of an anti-unionist trying hard to troll with a bunch of baseless nonsense.

                            As such, the conversation is concluded.

      •  Darth - even FDR opposed unions for government (3+ / 0-)

        workers because of the issue of who represents the taxpayer if the politicians are supported by the unions with whom they are negotiating? It's a legitimate issue. At the federal level it was JFK who was an advocate for public employee unions and marshaled legislation to make them legal for federal employees.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:23:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No - he did not. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, VClib

          That is a right wing talking point.

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          FDR felt that strikes by public sector workers should not be allowed.  In fact, the oft-misquoted and misinterpreted letter that is the basis of this bullshit right-wing talking point was to one of the leaders of a Federal employee union.

          Read in its entirety and in context, it is clear what FDR meant.

          •  Politifact rates it as true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justanothernyer

            http://www.politifact.com/...

            I'm not saying that politifact is always right, but there is debate over what FDR really meant.

            •  The only reason why there is a debate (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bananapouch1

              is because some people are too damn obtuse to read the letter in it's full context and consider who it was written to and why.

              The entire idea that Politifact couldn't even understand the context is one of the reasons why I no longer take their opinions seriously.

              •  Politifact is not a favorite but the letter FDR (0+ / 0-)

                wrote on the subject, coupled with his other statements, appears to say that:

                (1)  He was in favor of public employee unions; but
                (2)  Against strikes by public employee unions; and
                (3)  Against entering binding agreements with public employee unions.

                Note that points one and two are clearer than point three.

                •  This is new (0+ / 0-)
                  (3)  Against entering binding agreements with public employee unions.
                  Where do you come up with this assertion?
                  •  To quote from FDR's letter: (0+ / 0-)

                    "The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations."

                    •  Which (0+ / 0-)

                      just like the claims that the letter means FDR "didn't think government employees should be unionized", is one sentence taken out of context.

                      The entire paragraph that that sentence is in, on the whole, leads one to a different conclusion - that he is stating collective bargaining works differently for government employees due to the nature of government - not simply that government cannot enter into contracts with employees.

                      So your assertion fails.

                      •  Part of the difference would seem to be (0+ / 0-)

                        that there can be no agreement binding on the government.

                        •  Maybe thats how you (0+ / 0-)

                          choose to interpret it.  But as you're the first person to ever present that theory to me, you're in the minority. By a wide margin. No one else seems to interpret it that way.

                          •  Popularity does not constitute evidence (0+ / 0-)

                            And since a fair number of people (possibly a majority) seem to conclude he was against public employee unions I'd not sure why you'd want to make, or whether you'd win, an argument from popularity.

                          •  2 caveats to your statement: (0+ / 0-)

                            1.  You are not just a minority, but the only person I've ever seen interpret his statement that way.  And I run across the claims of what this letter supposedly says a lot.

                            2.  The claims are from rabid, anti-unionist rightwingnuts who refuse to read and comprehend the entire letter in context.  As such, those that think FDR was "against public sector unions" most certainly don't constitute an majority.  They constitute a vocal rightwingnut minority.

          •  Darth - thanks for the link and the letter (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darth Stateworker

            It's clear that I was wrong, although the letter does discuss the issue that public employee unions have real differences from private sector unions, and not just the issue of strikes.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:56:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm glad I could help clarify. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              Additionally, I should add that I agree with what FDR state in context - to a point.

              Civil servants are in a unique position in that the public generally needs to rely on what we do - especially in positions that are related to public safety, public health, and transportation.  As such, strikes - especially by those in more sensitive positions as I noted above - are detrimental to the good of our society.

              As such, I'm am more than fine with civil servants not being allowed to strike, however, they do need to have an alternative means of airing their grievances, resolving disputes, and a means of balancing power between labor and management.

              However, I am far less convinced that public servants that are not in mission critical positions can cause issues if they strike.  I can certainly see where a cop not being on the beat is problematic for society.  On the other hand - some clerical worker not processing tax returns because they're on strike for 5 days does... nothing and puts no one in danger.

              As such, I think common sense needs to be applied to rules governing civil servants as well.  I don't think it's an all or nothing proposition either way.  As long as their is a balance of power between employer and employee via some mechanism - and public health and safety is not jeopardized by said mechanism - I think that such a solution is reasonable for both the public and civil servants.

              Most civil servants feel that way and recognize their responsibility to society.  Most are not the militant "I'm going to strike because I didn't get the 10% raise I was demanding" type union member.

  •  Wait -- is your argument that states will be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    forced to pay for substandard care, that they are helpless to demand quality?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:17:11 AM PST

  •  I don't get why the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, Dirtandiron, nextstep

    union issue gets sidetracked in the diary.

    The legal issue appears to be whether the workers need to pay for union benefits, but then the diary veers off into an emotional appeal for home care.

    Isn't arguing for payment of benefits enough?

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:22:59 AM PST

    •  dfarrah - except the parties aren't really (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, Sparhawk

      "workers", they receive no salary or benefits from the state. What they receive is a monthly payment for taking care of a family member from Medicare. The union hasn't, and can't, negotiate on their behalf. The state doesn't set the compensation. The union dues they now pay actually reduce the amount that they receive for providing the care.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:48:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Somedays, I think Roberts and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, orlbucfan

    Scalia don't give a damn about their legacies because they enact so many policies that hurt everyday Americans without remorse.

    They probably sleep rather soundly at night knowing they've done a good day's work as well.

    In a day and age in which we as a country are supposed to move forward by ensuring the law preserves justice for all, we have SCOTUS members who only want to keep their handlers content.

    Very sad, truthfully.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:27:51 AM PST

  •  Union bashing and anti union memes are (5+ / 0-)

    at an all time high and it is cases like this that makes it more and more prevalent. While so and so is suing for having to pay a buck or two to have valid representation, they are also enjoying their weekend at their friend's  BBQ or able to coach their kid's little league ball team because they only worked 40 hours this week, or enjoying the overtime they got because their boss made them work on Saturday.

    This attitude of unions are bad makes me sick.  

  •  Conservative Supreme Court (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, chuckvw

    This Court illustrates the need to retire the 'Lifetime Appointments'. We are stuck with these Justices whom go against and overturn long standing statutes. Why on Earth would they weaken the Voting Rights Act? This is ludicrous and this needs to stop.

    After 'Citizens United' that should have sounded the alert to change the rules regarding Lifetime terms for any Supreme Court Justice. Give them 8 years tops!

  •  Ginsburg in that photo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, seefleur

    always looks to me like she is trying to keep her distance from the others.... nothing to do with me, guv...

  •  Of course. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    Of course.  It's part of their job description as legal enforcers for the 1%.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:03:09 AM PST

  •  Thanks for getting this on the front page (3+ / 0-)

    While most of the liberal media is lost in the minutiae of Jersey politics, or debating who HRC should anoint as her running mate (presumably with a gentle tap of her regal sword upon the shoulder...), this and TPP, among other truly serious issues, slowly ooze in the background.

    It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

    by chuckvw on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:12:23 AM PST

  •  The decision is not in doubt, only its breadth. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, VClib

    The real problem here is that the original error, Gov. Quinn declaring people who do not provide services to the State of Illinois, and who are not paid by the State of Illinois, to nonetheless be emoloyees of the state of Illinois, is not reveiwable by the Supreme Court.

    That means that the most correct and least-damaging way for the plaintiffs to win isn't available... the Court has to make a broader ruling, and that can't avoid impacting much larger issues. And lots more people.

    Pulled-from-my-arse prediction:

    Decision for the suing workers. Majority larger than 5-4. Probably 6-3, 7-2 wouldn't shock me. Multiple concurring opinions with different reasonings and different scopes. Chief Justice Roberts writes the plurality opinion... not sure what that does to the scope of the decision... if a result has a majority, but the reasoning behind it does not, which argument gets precedential force?

    --Shannon

    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:18:15 AM PST

  •  Conservative CEOs aka Uncle Sugar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Eric Nelson

    anointed John Roberts as the deity of Wall Street. One of the divine birthrights of Citizen United is cheap labor.

     

  •  There just might be something to reincarnation... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Eric Nelson

    ... Roberts certainly appears to adjudicate as if he were Ronald Reagan - with the same disgust for America's Middle Class, pandering to unrestricted capitalism and reintroducing Jim crow in the form of voting rights restrictions.

    Yes, Democrats are almost equally hideous in their ability to forget who put them in office... but this "supreme-less" court is the one reason why anybody who works for a living should avoid voting for any republican for any reason, no matter how much bulls---t they say in their campaigns. This court in its present form is actively deconstructing just about everything that was ever done for working people for the last 100 years.

  •  Nature Abohors a Vacuum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darth Stateworker

    Remember that the Gompers Compromise is what instituted Unions with the Capitalists consent.  It's obvious the Capitalists don't remember the alternative at the time of the "Compromise" was a Labor Party.  I understand that speaking in terms of third parties instead of pushing for the election of Progressive Democrats is not acceptable here, but the strengths of a Labor Party over Unions is clear ... and you can see why Capitalists, at one time, were happy with Unions. In a Labor Party dynamic, Labor would hold seats in Government directly, while Unions have to compete against Capitalists for influencing elected officials with campaign dollars.  As you can see, there is an inherent problem in that, and likely is the foundation reason that Corporate Democrats have overwhelmed the Democratic Party, leading to tepid defense for Unions.

    Hopefully, the approach of electing more Progressive Democrats will be successful, and turn the Democratic Party into an ersatz Labor Party in the future, but let's be clear here ... both national parties are hemorrhaging Americans who affiliate with them, and as the ranks of independent voters grows (full disclosure, I have been registered non-partisan since I started voting in 1980), the opportunity for a new party arising ... from the Left or Right ... is a definite possibility, despite the experts of political history claiming otherwise.  The American People, though relatively docile now, will only take being kicked in the face by the current dynamic for so long. The Democrats should wise up, and move hard left on Labor/Consumer/Social issues.

    (In terms of definition, a "Capitalist" is one who lives off money that makes money ... if you aren't living off money that makes money, unless retired or disabled and living on Government Assistance, you are a Worker, not a "Capitalist".  The problem in the United States is that the Slave is conditioned to identify with the Master, and that leads to definition confusion.)

    •  I like the idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogBelter

      But two things:

      1.  Unions do have a "Labor Party" arm - the Working Families Party,  Though as of late, it tends to be more an extension of the Democratic party than anything else.  Unions simply haven't tried to use the WFP much to influence mainstream Dems.

      2.  There is no reason why unions cannot run their own candidates in either the WFP and/or run them in primaries in the Democratic party against mainstream Dems.  They simply don't do it because they don't want to cause waves and the few times they've tried they've been unsuccessful, because big-money corporate Dems have donors with far deeper pockets than the unions have.  That is why you don't see unions with the ability to cause an incumbent to shit bricks over the thought of a primary like the Teawingnuts can a Republican.  Unions could achieve the same with the Democrats, but it would take money and manpower - two things that are dwindling as union membership continues to tank.

      So your idea could be implemented.  If union leaders really wanted to work hard at making it happen.  However, most of the old-school, entrenched union leadership in the national unions have no interest in doing so - they're still caught up in thinking unions have the kind of power and influence they used to have instead of realizing those days are gone.  This won't change until the Baby Boomers that are national union leaders in the big umbrella unions that still think things work like it's the 70's or early 80's get voted out and replaced with Gen Xers or Gen Yers that realize the dynamic is totally different and strategize accordingly.

  •  If there is any group of workers needing some (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davel454, Eric Nelson

    support with wages, hours, benefits, working conditions...it's home healthcare workers.

  •  yes. eom (0+ / 0-)

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:18:18 PM PST

  •  I too hope Amada Becker has read Justice Scalia.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..correctly; because Scalia is pro-states-rights yet also anti union (iow's would usually be in favor of "right to work" - for less - laws

    The U.S. Supreme Court seemed unlikely on Tuesday to embrace a sweeping argument advanced by a group of Illinois state employees that paying mandatory union dues violates their free-speech rights.
    Yesterday, Messenger tried to convince the Court that exclusive representation and fair share fees by public sector unions violate workers’ First Amendment rights.

    He claimed that, because public employee unions bargain over matters of public concern, the fees force workers to contribute to speech with which they may not agree.

     - emphasis added

    In these times - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014, 1:00 am
    But Justice Scalia was having none of it. Though Scalia is often cast as an ideological enemy of all labor—Salon stories by Josh Eidelson on this case and the neutrality agreement case, respectively, were titled,“Scalia’s Golden Chance to Kill Unions”and “Scalia’s Chance to Smash Unions”—here Scalia did not join with Justices Alito, Roberts and Kennedy in advancing the NRTW argument. Rather, Scalia was quick to question the very premise of the NRTW’s case, in a manner that set the tone for the remainder of the proceedings.
    Scalia has to decide what he cares about more. States rights or "right to work" for less:
    Though Justice Scalia has not traditionally been on the side of labor, his position in Tuesday’s argument should not come as a complete shock.

     What was at stake was states’ rights to make their own policy choices, which is ultimately a federalist argument. Conservatives have long described the importance of the states’ role as “laboratories of democracy,”

    I'll bet states rights takes a higher priority with Scalia on this - imo - which would avoid a huge blow to unions/labor

    Unless Scalia gets tricky and finds a way to hurt unions and support states rights - that is

    Thx Laura Clawson

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (0+ / 0-)

    Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

    by kaliope on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:35:44 PM PST

  •  Only a scumbag scab would think they deserved (0+ / 0-)

    to get union wages without paying union dues. These guys used to work of pennies, break the unions and the wages will drop along with the professionalism. But then I'm sure that the anti union organization backing this scumbag scab is betting on that.

    Fair share for the teacher's union translates to .33 an hour for a top tier teacher and goes down. These non union yo-hos even get union representation in the deal but they can't vote or hold office. Talk about wanting something for nothing. The lower courts threw this out completely and the SCOTUS has shown itself to be toxic to the people in general. Unfortunately most lawyers to get to this point come from privileged backgrounds with no ties to the common person.

    Union jobs pay 23% more than non union jobs, people died for our union rights and that is every bit as noble as any soldier in another war. Even more so because they were often unarmed in the fight.

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