The Janus Case: What Freedom’s All About. Or At Least That’s What They Want You To Think.

At the end of every academic year, my union hosts a dinner at which a group of faculty, staff, and administration put on a musical show, the main purpose of which is to poke fun at ourselves. It’s a wonderful reminder that we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously that we forget who we are, why we do the work we do, or why it matters that we are a union—one that just this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. I’ve been at the college for nearly three decades and I’ve been in every show except one, which I missed because of my wife’s graduation. The script is always original—we base it on the issues we’ve confronted during the year, the national issues that have been impinging on us, and the eternal issues that all teachers and students face—but the songs we sing are spoofs on well-known Broadway melodies, on standards from the American songbook, or popular music.

For the past two years, I have played Donald Trump, and the narrative of our show has been built around the conceit that this best president, with the best ideas, who can make the best deals, and who knows more about everything than anybody else was the best choice to solve the (very real) problems that have been plaguing our college for the past six or seven years. In last year’s show, I sang “I Am The Very Model of a Model College President”—based, of course, on Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General“—and this year I sang our version of “Just in Time,” by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, about how I/Trump arrived just in time to deal with the campus’ most pressing problems. Here’s a montage from this year’s show, in which you can see me briefly in my Trump wig:

As you might imagine—we are an academic union in an agency-fee state—the then-still-not-decided Janus decision figured prominently in our thoughts this year. In my capacity as union secretary, I’d written five posts about the case for our blog, and so I was charged with figuring out how to work the case into the show. The third post in that series, Preparing for Janus: What We’re Up Against, zoomed out to look at the case from a national perspective, and what I learned from researching that post was what I tried to channel as I wrote the monologue that would be spoken by our version of Mark Janus. Now that I’ve read the decision itself, what I wrote seems to me even more apt than it was when I wrote it.

It’s satire, of course, which means it’s unabashedly partisan, so it’s not a fully fleshed-out argument; and, despite what my Mark Janus says, Donald Trump actually has very little to do with how the Janus case ended up before the Supreme Court, though Trump has been very useful to the right wing billionaires and ideologues who’ve been working for at least 15 years to make it happen. Still, I thought the monologue worth sharing:

Hello, my name is Mark Janus. Your new president, Donald Trump, has asked me to speak to you about why it’s so important to make Right-to Work the law of the land. President Trump—successful, self-made man that he is—truly has his finger on our nation’s pulse, and he understands why it’s important for working men and women to be able to find jobs, regardless of whether they get paid fairly, whether their working conditions are safe, whether they can get fired for no other reason than slapping away their boss’ hand when he—or she; have to be careful not to be sexist—started massaging the wrong inner thigh under the table at the company dinner no other employees were invited to…truly, you have no idea how lucky you are to have as your college president a man who really gets it, who will make sure that stuff like fair pay and fair treatment don’t get in the way of your right to work.

So why did he ask me to come here to speak with you? After all, I’m just an average guy from Illinois. Well, I’m also the plaintiff in that Supreme Court case you’ve been hearing so much about. The one where the Court’s going to decide once and for all whether or not average people like us can be forced to pay a union for services that union provides us. I’ll give you an example. I work for the Department of Health Care and Family Services in Illinois, and I’m represented by AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. They negotiated a fair contract. I get paid pretty well for what I do; I have a good benefits package; a path for promotion if I want to take it; a retirement plan. The contract also helps guarantee that my workload stays reasonable, that I have recourse if I’m treated unfairly; and I stand fully behind my right to all of that, and to the union’s role in making sure that contract isn’t violated…and you know what? So does my legal team, and those wonderful Koch brothers, and all those other conservative organizations, who are paying for my legal team. In fact, I don’t know a single person on my side who doesn’t say, “Sure, if there are enough people who want to form a union, they should do so; and if they want to go ahead and negotiate a fair contract for everyone in the bargaining unit, then, hell yes, they should go ahead and do just that. If it makes them happy, it makes us happy.” We just believe that if they’re the ones who want to be a union, they’re the only ones who should have to pay for being a union. That’s what freedom’s all about, isn’t it? Not having to pay for something when you can get it for free.

Here’s another example. When I was hired, even though I said I didn’t want to join the union, the union still deducted from my salary what it calls a “fair share fee.” Yeah, I know, that money is supposed to compensate them for the work they have to do to negotiate for me, to represent me…but do you know what they then had the nerve to ask me to do? Lobby for a soda tax! Can you believe it? First, what the hell does that have to do with education? More than that, though, they put me in the position of having to say no, of having not to show up for that rally or whatever—because, frankly, I think a soda tax is stupid; if people want to get fat on soft drinks, that’s their business—and putting me in that position was just so unfair! What good are all those benefits, who cares about “the work they do on my behalf” if they’re going to treat me like that?

So that’s why I’m here. Because your President Trump knows my name has become synonymous with the kind of freedom of choice you need to polish the jewel this college is, the kind of freedom on which our great country was founded—though if you study ancient Roman mythology, you also know I was named after Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, and so I am asking you to help me make this the beginning of the end of the unions’ left-wing stranglehold on our nation’s politics… (Here, Janus was interrupted by other characters who sang a pro-union song.)

At bottom, that’s what the Janus case was really about. Nothing more and nothing less.

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22 Responses to The Janus Case: What Freedom’s All About. Or At Least That’s What They Want You To Think.

  1. 1
    Erin says:

    Wasn’t this case primarily about a guy not wanting to pay forced money to an organization (union) that was promoting political views he didn’t believe in?

    I’m not sure I would want to either.

  2. The agency fee that was at stake in the Janus case compensates a union for the work it does negotiating for and representing all members of a bargaining unit, whether they belong to the union or not. It does not go to endorsing or promoting political candidates or other political positions. Public sector unions in agency fee states have separate political action arms to which members contribute voluntarily, and for which there is no penalty for not contributing. What the Janus case was really about was a conservative attack on organized labor. I’d urge you to read through the third of the posts I linked to back on my union blog. It is partisan, of course, but it also lays out, in what I think are pretty fair and straightforward terms, what the right’s goals were in bringing the case.

  3. 3
    Erin says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman sez:

    The agency fee that was at stake in the Janus case compensates a union for the work it does negotiating for and representing all members of a bargaining unit, whether they belong to the union or not.

    The Supreme Court found that the risk of “freeriding” is not enough to limit first amendment rights.

    It does not go to endorsing or promoting political candidates or other political positions. Public sector unions in agency fee states have separate political action arms to which members contribute voluntarily, and for which there is no penalty for not contributing.

    This paragraph spanning pages 3 and 4 of the slip opinion addresses this issue:

    “Nor does the union speech at issue cover only matters of private concern, which the State may also generally regulate under Pickering. To the contrary, union speech covers critically important and public matters such as the State’s budget crisis, taxes and collective bargaining issues relating to education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights. Pp. 27-31.”

    It is also worth noting that Janus (also) did not agree with the collective-bargaining position of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council.

    ——————————————–

    In general – to me – it sounds like a pretty strong sense of entitlement that a group can try to charge a fee to someone who does not agree with the positions of the group and who does not want to be a member. In this case, Janus had to pay 78.06% of the full union dues, even though he wanted nothing to do with the organization and even opposed their positions.

    What do you think of the view of just leaving people alone who don’t want to be bothered paying for your political positions? This doesn’t have to involve a big conservative conspiracy going back to the Kennedy Assassination.

    Slip opinion is here:
    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf

  4. Erin:

    I read the Supreme Court decision quite carefully, but just because it is now settled law does not mean it is right, just, or fair. It is what the law is now.

    I’m not going to get into the question of what the decision has to see about “union speech” and politics because I don’t have the time to address it fully. So I will say simply this: Reasonable people can disagree over whether one should have the individual right to benefit from a union contract and union representation without having to pay for it, and one can choose to see the issue only in this narrow perspective. However, when you compare wages, benefits, general welfare–and, in the case of education (which is my field), the overall quality of students’ learning conditions–in states that are right-to-work (the ideology underlying the Janus case) and those that are agency-fee states, I would much rather live and work, and have my child go to school, in the latter. That difference has everything to do with the strength of the unions there, and to the degree that Janus is part of a concerted attack on public sector unions (see below), Janus is also an attack on those differences. (Also, by the way, it is rarely the case that 100% of union members approve of a union’s collective bargaining positions, or the resulting contract, in any given contract negotiation. That’s very different from asking, overall, if members want and approve of the benefits they get from being union.)

    What do you think of the view of just leaving people alone who don’t want to be bothered paying for your political positions? This doesn’t have to involve a big conservative conspiracy going back to the Kennedy Assassination.

    Except, first, the union can’t just leave people alone. By law, the union has to negotiate for and represent everyone in the bargaining unit. I would not be surprised to find out that this provision will also soon come under attack as well. One thing the Supreme Court decision did was bring tremendous clarity to the inherently adversarial nature of the labor-management relationship. It’s going to be interesting to see how that develops over time.

    And regarding your snark about “a big conservative conspiracy going back to the Kennedy Assassination,” I wonder how much you know about the national network of right wing organizations that have been collaborating for at least 15 years to get to this point. If you don’t want to read my union’s blog post, which I can understand, you can try this article in In These Times.

    There are larger forces at work here, and while Mark Janus might be their darling now, they are not his friends any more than they are mine as a union officer.

    (Edited to add some clarity.)

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    Here’s the opinion of the President who is one of the biggest liberal icons there is; FDR. His commentary regarding public employee unions:

    All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. 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. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

    Unfortunately he was eventually followed by politicians who were more concerned with getting a built-in voting bloc and political contributions rather than in serving the public interest.

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    As far as individual rights go, it may well be unfair that public unions have to represent all public employees whether they pay dues or not; but the law’s job is to protect our rights, not to be fair to unions. It is the job of an organization to make its services attractive to prospective members. The unions could overcome the objections of many like Mr. Janus if they would get out of the business of endorsing and working for particular politicians and instead concentrated on providing those services which the body of people it wants to recruit from are most likely to agree are worth paying for.

  7. Ron:

    Regarding FDR: If the government treated its workers with the same high-minded, public-spirited, and public-service idealism he says government workers are supposed to bring to their jobs, we might not need public sector unions at all, and we certainly wouldn’t have to be talking about whether or not they should have the right to strike. The fact is that the government treats its workers essentially no differently than any other employer: it wants to get as much as it can out of them for as little as possible. Witness the conditions under which teachers live and, as importantly, work (which means, also, look at the conditions under which their students were learning) in the states that saw the recent teacher strikes.

    And I have a similar, related response to your other point: Leaving aside entirely the fact that a public sector union’s ability to provide precisely the services you are talking about often depends on who is holding office, perhaps if the government treated its public sector workers apolitically, in the way I think you mean unions ought to behave, union’s would not have to worry about who is in office.

    You–general you; I’m not sure this is what you were saying–can’t have it both ways. If management is political, treats public sector workers as political footballs, then workers have a right to respond in kind.

    ETA: That it took a 12-year-old boy to ask a stupidly simple question to get the governor of West Virginia to admit that maybe he was looking at the teacher’s strike from the wrong perspective, speaks volumes to me about why public sector unions, and, for me, in particular teacher’s unions, are necessary, and also about why it is sometimes necessary to strike–even when it’s illegal.

  8. 8
    nobody.really says:

    As far as individual rights go, it may well be unfair that public unions have to represent all public employees whether they pay dues or not; but the law’s job is to protect our rights, not to be fair to unions. It is the job of an organization to make its services attractive to prospective members. The unions could overcome the objections of many like Mr. Janus if they would get out of the business of endorsing and working for particular politicians and instead concentrated on providing those services which the body of people it wants to recruit from are most likely to agree are worth paying for.

    Right!

    And that’s why educational vouchers violate the 1st Amendment. People use MY tax dollars to attend religious schools—schools that say things I disagree with. It doesn’t matter that the vouchers allegedly pay for religiously-neutral things such as math class; ANY association between the payment and speech is a form of subsidy in violation of my 1st Amendment rights, no matter what services are provided.

    Indeed, the 1st Amendment bars government from entering into a business relationship with ANY religious-affiliated business (say, buying school supplies from Hobby Lobby). Again, no amount of consideration can ever remove the taint of endorsement and subsidy.

    And why stop there? Taxation violates my 1st Amendment rights. Government often says things I disagree with. It is the job of government to make its services attractive to prospective taxpayers. Governments could overcome the objections of people like me if they would get out of the business of endorsing and working for particular controversial policies and instead concentrated on providing those services which the body of people it wants to recruit from are most likely to agree are worth paying for.

    After all, remember when Amazon collected no sales tax, and left it to each of us to contribute those taxes on our own initiative: Of course we all contributed those taxes, right? Or if we didn’t, it was solely because we were protesting some specific thing the local taxing authority had said or done, and not because we were being free riders. Indeed, the whole concept of free ridership is a centuries-old econ hoax. Fake news!

  9. 9
    Sebastian H says:

    I find the case especially fascinating from a political dynamic position. Basically in the 80s the Supreme Court decided that unions were forcing people to support a bunch of tangentially-at-best causes through their fees. They ruled that if people were essentially forced into a union, they could only be forced into paying for the bargaining type things that were the reason people were being forced into the union. They couldn’t be forced to pay on ancillary political messages about the death penalty, or abortion, or whatever. That ruling seems correct to me.

    Then all through the 90s and early 2000s, union members found that even when they tried to opt out of the political messaging, unions resisted revealing how much they were spending on outside activities. So then there were huge fights about audits.

    From my point of view, big unions never were really ok with the idea that they couldn’t have outside expenditures over the objections of people who wanted to opt out of it. They resisted it at first by saying that there was no right to opt out, and then by making it very difficult to prove that they were really opting out.

    They were basically thumbing their noses at the Supreme Court ruling for decades, and the Supreme Court basically said fine–you can’t get any money out of the objectors then. Suddenly, Abood, which they resisted all along, is settled law and shouldn’t be touched.

    On the merits, I’m closer to the Volokh view that Janus is wrong, but its an interesting study of political dynamics.

  10. 10
    Sebastian H says:

    If forced expenditures are closely related to expression (implicating the 1st Amendment) then school vouchers to religious schools shouldn’t be ok AND forcing people to support unions they don’t like shouldn’t be ok. If they aren’t closely related to expression then school vouchers to religious schools usually aren’t 1st amendment violations AND forcing people to support unions and union political activity should be ok.

    But it seems to me that the vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle believe either YES vouchers NO unions or NO vouchers YES unions. Neither of the more coherent pairings (YES YES or NO NO) command nearly as much a following as either of the less coherent pairings.

  11. 11
    Erin says:

    In the last several months, it’s starting to become clear to me what the divide in the United States is: Some people were raised to be independent, and some people were raised to view themselves in a social collective. This also applied to the discussion of people being forced to pay money for organizations that they don’t want. They don’t even want a union.

    As an “independent”, I wouldn’t dream of asking others to pay for my political views. I wouldn’t dream of asking for others to pay for my collective bargaining. I wouldn’t even dream of collective bargaining. When Richard Jeffrey Newman started complaining about how the government could treat its workers, my instant instinct was to just get away from government employment if it is so bad. Found your own company. Work on your own. The only thing that can stop you is socialism/communism.

    A very simplified analogy (yes, you can instantly find problems … or try to understand what I am saying, one of those two):

    Jim and Mary were shipwrecked on an island. Jim had majored in civil engineering and Mary had majored in women’s studies in college.

    Jim realized that he was going to die very soon if he didn’t get organized with food and shelter. He instantly looked for animals that could be killed or plants that could be instantly harvested. He then thought long-term about planting crops or domesticating animals. He started immediately building a minimal hut to protect him from the elements.

    Mary started instantly complaining that there was all of a sudden food and shelter appearing on the island, and she had a right to half of it. She justified it with quotations from Marx and Lenin. The society consisting of Jim and Mary. Jim was not a cruel person, so he build a hut for Mary and worked harder to produce food so that both of them had enough to eat.

    Both of them had their work: Jim had to produce for both of them (her share was his “tax”), and Mary started increasingly nagging him with what she deserved in their little society. Jim was an independent person; Mary viewed society as a collective that had to take care of all members.

    I realize you can rhetorically destroy what I am saying. I realize that you can nit-pick everything into nothingness. And someone on this board will. And then there are people who are reading along who may get the drift of what I am trying to say.

    This is important enough a concept that it may lead to a second civil war in the United States. This is the issue, and also the Trump/Clinton divide.

  12. 12
    nobody.really says:

    Some people were raised to be independent, and some people were raised to view themselves in a social collective….

    Jim and Mary were shipwrecked on an island. Jim had majored in civil engineering and Mary had majored in women’s studies in college.

    I don’t know what “independent” means, and the hypothetical is too complicated to clarify the point. So let’s simplify it. Let’s say that Mary is so completely useless, she’s in a coma. Or she’s 3 years old.

    What should Jim do about Mary? As you say, he’s looking for animals he can kill and eat.

    So no bullshitting now, Erin: What would Jim do? If you want us to get the drift of what you’re trying to say about being an “independent,” then come right out and say it.

  13. 13
    Erin says:

    nobody.really:

    I understand your point of view:

    If Mary is in a coma, or she’s 3-years-old, Jim should try to help her to the extent possible.

    Now you try to understand my point of view:

    Let’s say that Mary is a functioning adult. Should Jim nevertheless carry all the weight? Or does Mary have some responsibility to organize her own life and contribute? Does Mary get to claim victimhood, which prevents her full contribution?

    And yes, I know that Jim is a racist and misogynist and ageist and all the rest by default. Horrible scumbag. He proves it every minute that he tries to provide extra food and shelter on the island.

  14. Sebastian H:

    Then all through the 90s and early 2000s, union members found that even when they tried to opt out of the political messaging, unions resisted revealing how much they were spending on outside activities.

    I’d be curious to see links, if you have any. (Not necessarily disagreeing with you. Just curious to see.)

    Erin:

    Name me a single society that is organized like that. Just one. (Also, it’s interesting to me that you chose Women’s Studies as an example and made the woman who majored in Women’s Studies completely useless–as if women (yes, even women’s studies majors) have never been mothers/caretakers/etc. or have never had mothers who filled those roles, and so of course a woman who majored in Women’s Studies would have no concept of what it means to have to feed yourself and others, that this might take work, that this work might require learning how to do it if you don’t know how. That’s not rhetorically picking apart your example; that’s explaining why it’s a bad and even insulting example from the get go.)

  15. 15
    Erin says:

    Name me a single society that is organized like that. Just one.

    You got me on that one. I tried to think of Gilligan’s Island, but they even had diversity there with the Professor and Ginger.

    I guess you stumped me with that key question. I was talking about a real society, not a concept / thought experiment, so naturally I should be able to name a society like the one I mentioned.

    Ummm … with that, I think I’ll check out for now.

  16. Erin,

    I’m going to assume you’re still reading even if you decide not to comment, so I will just say this: a thought-experiment that is both completely divorced from reality and stacked so obviously (and insultingly) to lead to a single conclusion is not really a thought experiment at all. It’s intended to be a self-fulfilling argument.

  17. 17
    nobody.really says:

    Some people were raised to be independent, and some people were raised to view themselves in a social collective….

    Let’s say that Mary is so completely useless, she’s in a coma. Or she’s 3 years old.

    What should Jim do about Mary? …. If you want us to get the drift of what you’re trying to say about being an “independent,” then come right out and say it.

    I understand your point of view:

    If Mary is in a coma, or she’s 3-years-old, Jim should try to help her to the extent possible.

    The issue isn’t my point of view; it’s yours. And apparently it’s your point of view that Jim should try to help a helpless Mary. That sure sounds as if Jim was raised to view himself in a social collective: He’s caring for others in his society, even with little prospect of reciprocity. Am I misunderstanding this?

    This may not be an independent/collectivist debate. It may be a right/left debate. According to Scott Alexander, “Rightism is what happens when you’re optimizing for surviving an unsafe environment, leftism is what happens when you’re optimized for thriving in a safe environment.”

    Of course, this thesis leaves much in dispute. Two questions leap to mind: Which view results in greater justice? And which view is more adaptive? I tend to regard the leftist/collectivist view as resulting in greater justice, and John Rawls went so far as to create an entire Theory of Justice in support of my thesis. (Then others went so far as to create an entire muiscal in support of the theory.)

    But I also regard collectivism as more adaptive under all but the briefest and direst of circumstances. Perhaps in the extreme short term—admittedly, the time scale favored by action movies and daydreams—independence seems adaptive. But in the medium to long run, the best prospects for Jim and Mary are if somebody comes to rescue them—and that requires a collectivist society. Or, barring rescue, Jim seems unlikely to pass on many of his genes to any future generation without some collective activity involving Mary. Consider nature: How many lone apes do we find in the wild? And how many collectivists? There might be a lesson in there about adaptive strategies among primates.

    But, given that Erin answered my hypothetical, it’s only fair that I answer Erin’s: Based on Erin’s clarification, it appears that Jim acknowledges his duty as a member of a social collective. I don’t see how Mary’s behavior alters that duty—although it might alter how Jim acts on that duty.

    Erin describes Mary as an unhelpful jerk. Jim might well want to avoid enabling her antisocial behavior in order to motivate her to contribute to their society. That’s part of pro-social behavior, too. At a minimum, I’d hope Jim and Mary would value their society sufficiently that they’d be able to talk about their different perspectives and needs, and negotiate some mutual accommodation.

    Have I gotten the drift of what you’re trying to say?

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Erin’s example reminds me of this comic strip, about Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Ayn Rand, and Murray Rothbard stranded on a desert island.

  19. Thanks for the link to that cartoon, Amp. I’m saving it for future use.

  20. 20
    Michael says:

    That cartoon seems to basically show why some Marxist governments resorted to methods like seizing food from starving peasants at gunpoint, even though the author lacks the self awareness to realize it- there’s no easy division between personal property and private property. Enough grain to feed me and my relatives is personal property- enough grain to feed 1,000 people is private property- but where do you draw the line? Even in the cartoon, Marx’s refusal to share the brandy seems self-serving.
    Of course, the real world isn’t like Erin’s island or the island in the cartoon- that’s the point of Chidi’s character in the Good Place- people aren’t expected to apply abstract principles in real life but the test of reasonableness. I think asking the guy to pay the union fee was reasonable.

  21. 21
    Sebastian H says:

    “I’d be curious to see links, if you have any.”

    Most of it is impressions from working in employment law in California in the 1990s. I don’t have time for a deep dive on it right this second (and google is irritating because it used to have an ‘exclude recent’ button that would let you search something like Abood v Detroit without getting 10,000 “Abood overruled” articles.) but….

    The first round (the first ten years) in unions trying to avoid Abood culminated in Chicago Teachers v. Hudson. There the union tried to claim that 95% was non-political, wouldn’t provide backup documentation, provided an arbitration procedure where the arbitrator was picked solely by the union, kept disputed fees until after arbitration, and had some other practices I can’t remember that got swatted down 9-0 by the Supreme Court. By comparison, you should understand that most unions appear to spend at least 10% on DIRECT political contributions, and Abood allowed opt out on an additional wide variety of INDIRECT political contributions as well. (The unions still resist good accounting of it, but based on fee arbitrations thumbnailing indirect political contributions as about double that of direct political contributions is probably right).

    There appears to be a frustrating lack of reporting on post decision results for cases like Hudson, so if you find one, that would be great to see. (You’d think ONE reporter would follow up a year later and say “the plaintiffs, on remand, got a finding of 70% for agency fees”.

  22. 22
    RonF says:

    Richard @ 7:

    You–general you; I’m not sure this is what you were saying–can’t have it both ways. If management is political, treats public sector workers as political footballs, then workers have a right to respond in kind.

    And they can. Nothing in this decision prevents public workers from joining a union. Nor does it prevent them from either individually or collectively engaging in political action outside of the union structure. The workers’ individual and collective rights are not being interfered with. What this decision does is prevent individuals from being forced to join a collective effort. Is that “fair” to the union or the members that pay into it? Maybe not. But that is not the concern of the law, and is therefore not the concern of the courts.

    Love that bit about the 12-year old kid. Normally I would point out that the correlation between educational spending/child and educational outcomes/child are not nearly as strong as one would think, but in reading the stories about that particular issue it seems to me that teachers in West Virginia were being paid abysmally and that they had the right of it.

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