Like unionists everywhere, I supported the California Teachers Association side in the Friedrichs case.
For those living in a cave: If the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Friedrichs, it would have ended the practice of agency fees. In Illinois, for example, teachers don’t have to join the union in the district where they teach, but they must pay a fee to the union for the representation, rights and compensation that having a union provides for them. That right is guaranteed to workers in the private sector. The issue before the court was whether workers in the public sector have that same right.
The concern was that the five conservative justices seemed to give the impression that they would rule against agency fees for public workers.
With the death of Justice Scalia, The Grim Reaper seems to have sided with the unions. A four to four vote will leave the right to fair share in place.
There is a certain absurdity to the fact that in a democracy the death of one man decides the fate of millions of working people.
In the brief moment before Scalia left this mortal plane our national and state union leaders acted as if they were worried about keeping members who wouldn’t be required to pay dues. What I fear is that this means that the state leadership of our teacher unions can go back to sleep.
Although I am not entirely convinced they ever were really awake.