The Supreme Court decided yesterday to hear Janus v. AFSCME. The Court seems poised to hold that agency-fee agreements for public sector workers are unconstitutional. Since the order, reports and commentaries have analyzed Janus‘s threat to public sector workers, and its stakes for U.S. organized labor.
The Chicago Tribune explains that the case began when Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, a former private equity executive, attempted to stop the state from dispensing agency fees to unions, clashing with the state’s Attorney General. The Governor eventually filed the suit that would become Janus, asking a federal court to rule that his actions were valid and that fair-share agreements are unconstitutional. When Gov. Rauner was dropped from the case, Mark Janus and other state employees took over as plaintiffs. The Tribune also has an editorial that supports the union’s argument only on the “narrow” point that “[s]omeone who benefits from a union’s contract negotiations should pay for collective bargaining activities, if not for the union’s political activities.” It notes that an AFSCME loss in Janus would lead to a decline in union membership, like the decline seen “in Wisconsin, with Gov. Scott Walker leading the charge.” ….
Janus and the Private Sector
Source: Benjamin Sachs, On Labor blog, September 29, 2017
Maddy’s excellent wrap-up of yesterday’s Janus news includes a clip from Slate’s piece “Solidarity’s End.” There, Mark Joseph Stern provides a very useful synopsis of agency fees law, but he also suggests that a Janus decision finding agency fees unconstitutional could easily be exported to the private sector. Here’s how he puts it:
One last point: Janus involves only public-sector unions, or unions composed of state employees. But there is no obvious reason why its logic should not apply to private-sector unions as well.
But of course there is a very obvious reason why the logic of a public-sector holding would not apply to private-sector unions: that logic is the state action doctrine, which limits constitutional restrictions to state actors….
A Primer on the Supreme Court Case That Teachers’ Unions Have Been Fearing
Source: Liana Loewus, Ed Week blog, September 28, 2017
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court officially agreed to review a case on public-employee union fees that could potentially deliver a harsh blow to the nation’s teachers’ unions. You may find yourself asking: Wait, haven’t we been through this? Wasn’t someone named Friedrichs involved? And why is this coming up again? All good questions. Let’s take a look at what’s at stake, and how we got here. ….
Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31
Source: SCOTUSblog, 2017
Issue: Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment…..
Judgment Day for Public Unions
Source: Matt Ford, The Atlantic, September 28, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could deal a serious blow to American organized labor.
Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire
Source: Charlie Savage, Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, March 14, 2017
….With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to take up Judge Gorsuch’s nomination next week, Democrats have based much of their criticism of him on the argument that his judicial and economic philosophy unduly favors corporations and the wealthy. But his relationship with Mr. Anschutz, 77, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to be $12.6 billion, has received scant attention. The Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, which developed the list of potential Supreme Court nominees from which Mr. Trump selected Judge Gorsuch, receive funding from Mr. Anschutz. ….
Bradley Foundation Bankrolls Attacks on Unions
Source: Mary Bottari, Center for Media and Democracy, May 8, 2017
Documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) expose a national effort by the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation to defund and dismantle unions, the most significant force for higher wages and better working conditions in America. Publicly, the Bradley Foundation spins this agenda as “employee rights.” Behind the scenes, newly disclosed Bradley documents detail an aggressive political agenda….
Gorsuch speech at Trump hotel attracts protests
Source: Josh Gerstein, Politico, September 28, 2017
….Gorsuch spoke as part of a 50th anniversary celebration for the Fund for American Studies, a charitable group that sponsors scholarships and study programs. The organization’s goal, according to its website, is “to win over each new generation to the ideas of liberty, limited government and free markets.” The fund is supported by a wide array of foundations, most of them with a conservative or libertarian bent, including the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation…..
The Supreme Court’s Anti-Democratic Feedback Loop
Source: Scott Lemieux, The Atlantic, September 29, 2017
The GOP installs Supreme Court justices over the will of voters. The Supreme Court helps the GOP remain in power. Rinse, repeat.