December 9, 2018

Unions in legal danger again

Popular Resistance -= This summer, the Supreme Court gutted America’s public labor unions with the Janus ruling. Now, another case has the potential to further destroy the very basis of organized labor in America. This is serious.

Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Org is a case brought by the right wing Buckeye Institute with the specific aim of dismantling a key part of U.S. labor law. The case seeks to end the practice of exclusive representation in public unions—the rule that a union represents all of the workers in a workplace. In the case, a college professor is arguing that the requirement that the union in her workplace negotiate on her behalf even if she does not want to be a union member is an infringement of her free speech. The case is a part of a long-term strategy by right wing groups to use the pretext of free speech as a way to destroy protections for organized labor. The Janus case—in which the Supreme Court ruled that nobody has to pay public unions for representing them (not even “agency fees,” which just cover the cost of representation) if they don’t want to—was the most successful manifestation of this strategy.

The Uradnik case could be the next step. It has just been appealed to the Supreme Court. If they decide to hear it, the outlook is not good. (And if they don’t decide to hear it, there are more identical cases in the pipeline.)

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