Sunday, April 10, 2016

243.2 - Good News: Supreme Court rejects attack on agency fees

Good News: Supreme Court rejects attack on agency fees

That's not the only Good News coming out of the Supreme Court. This, I suppose, could be filed under "dodged a bullet" rather than outright Good News, but even so, dodging a bullet is still a good thing.

The case is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which a couple of self-interested pawns were rounded up by a reactionary law fund out to undermine public-sector unions by filing a suit challenging the practice of "agency fees" in public-employee unions. Under agency fees, unions can require non-members who are covered by union-negotiated contracts to pay a fee to cover their share of the expenses involved in collective bargaining. The principle of such fees for public employees was set down in a 1977 Supreme Court case.

Here, however, the plaintiffs wanted to overturn that ruling, claiming that it violated their right of free speech to have to pay anything for the benefits that the union obtained for them through collective bargaining. That is, they should be able to collect the benefits while others should bear all the burdens and pick up all the costs. In other words, typical right-wingers.

Anyway, what happened is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the teachers union and added that it was bound by the precedent set by the 1977 case, a decision which, of course, the selfish free riders, backed by the well-heeled law firm, appealed to the Supreme Court.

When oral arguments were held in January, it looked like the court was going to go 5-4 in favor of the greedheads and free-riders. But now, with only eight members, the Court deadlocked 4-4, meaning that the lower court ruling against the union-busters and in favor of public employee unions stands.

This is unlikely to be the end of this issue, but at least for now we see that a Supreme Court lacking Injustice Antonin Skeletor isn't capable of doing the damage it otherwise would.

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