February 10, 2015

"Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers," says the Governor of Illinois.

"An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights — and something that, as governor, I am duty bound to correct."

Illinois has a new governor. Have you noticed? It's Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and Illinois is now having an experience something like what happened in Wisconsin 4 years ago.
“Bruce Rauner’s scheme to strip the rights of state workers and weaken their unions by executive order is a blatantly illegal abuse of power,” said Roberta Lynch, executive director of Afscme Council 31. “Perhaps as a private equity C.E.O., Rauner was accustomed to ignoring legal and ethical standards, but Illinois is still a democracy and its laws have meaning. It is crystal clear by this action... that the governor’s supposed concern for balancing the state budget is a paper-thin excuse that can’t hide his real agenda: silencing working people and their unions who stand up for the middle class.”...

Some critics of the governor said it was clear why he had chosen to make an executive order rather than offer a legislative proposal. The state’s legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats, many of whom have received union support over the years. On Monday evening, the reaction from legislative leaders seemed surprisingly tempered.
Unlike Rauner, Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, had a Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 (and now). The Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature erupted in outrage alongside the protesters who stormed and besieged the our capitol back then. Why are the Illinois Democrats so calm?
“Our legal staff is reviewing the governor’s executive order regarding fair share,” said the [Illinois] Senate president, John Cullerton, a Democrat. “At the same time, I look forward to hearing the governor’s budget as we search for common ground to address our fiscal challenges.”
Explain the calmness: 1. The Democrats have the majority, so they'll be in control and need to plot a careful response, 2. The Democrats feel vulnerable in the next election cycle, and Rauner is shining a light on what actually is something of a "corrupt bargain... crushing taxpayers," and an intemperate reaction would make them look guilty, 3. They know the budget needs hard work, and they rather appreciate Rauner's taking the front line against the unions, 4. All of the above/something else?

ADDED: The above-linked article (in the NYT) doesn't explain Rauner's legal move. Here's the Chicago Tribune. Rauner needs that First Amendment argument to overcome what is otherwise a statutory obligation to withhold money from non-union employees and to send it to the unions. Rauner is filing a lawsuit in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment about whether free speech rights trump that statute. You might think this legal issue was settled long ago, and that resolution has been that the "fair share" extracted from the non-union employees covers the union's collective bargaining efforts that benefit all employees. The non-union workers are not charged for the portion of the union's activity that is political speech. But:
Rauner’s legal strategy draws on a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year in a case involving Illinois home health care assistants. In that case, lawyers argued that the workers, who were designated “public employees” and organized by the Service Employees International Union, were not true state employees and therefore couldn’t be required to pay the union fees.

By a 5-4 majority, the justices agreed, and ruled that compelling the home health care workers to pay union fees violated the First Amendment. The justices stopped short of ruling on the larger question of whether any public-sector workers can be compelled to pay the fees.

“The five-member majority definitely left the door wide open for a constitutional challenge of public employee forced dues,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president for public information at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which brought the suit. “Probably half of that opinion is about that issue, which they ultimately didn’t even decide in the case. But (there was) a lot of language in there saying ... ‘We want to talk about how this is a problem.’ ”

Mandatory union fees were upheld by the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in a Detroit school board case that concluded fair share dues were constitutional as long as the fees were not used to support a union’s political activities like lobbying or campaign contributions.

But in ruling on the 2014 home health care case, Justice Samuel A. Alito argued that the court’s analysis in the Detroit case had been “questionable on several grounds.”

“In the public sector, core issues such as wages, pensions and benefits are important political issues, but that is generally not so in the private sector,” Alito wrote. “In the years since (the ruling), as state and local expenditures on employee wages and benefits have mushroomed, the importance of the difference between bargaining in the public and private sectors has been driven home.”
So Rauner's lawsuit has a lot of potential to upset settled expectations about public employee unions.

105 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I would have edited the Governor's statement: they are a critical cog in a corrupt bargain. Don't imagine this is the only one.

Laslo Spatula said...

5. They are waiting to see the amount of the bribes the unions will be offering to determine their volume of outrage. Their exhortations will not be cheap.

I am Laslo.

The Drill SGT said...

Wasn't the Walker substance different as well? I thought he took the state out of the business of mandatory payroll deductions for union dues.

sparrow said...

Unions don't have the pull they used to. Today it's all about immigrants rather than native union workers - so Dems respond with less interest. They trust the new wave of immigrants will keep them/return them to power.

Curious George said...

#3.

Even Rahm went after the unions in Chicago. had to. Like the IL legislature...no choice. They can't raise taxes anymore than they have, so they need to cut costs. Which means break from the unions. Better to have a GOP do it.

This is why Doyle didn't run. He already fucked over the unions with furlough days, and it wasn't enough.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wasn't the Walker substance different as well? I thought he took the state out of the business of mandatory payroll deductions for union dues."

Rauner is limited to what he can do by executive order.

It's what Obama's doing too, you know!

Fernandinande said...

Perhaps as a private equity C.E.O., Rauner was accustomed to ignoring legal and ethical standards,

The ethical standard of being forced to give her money.

Unknown said...

e. the Democrats are planning "Chicago style" negotiations off the budget, to put pressure on the Governor.

Brando said...

If they're planning to keep this from happening, a measured response will work best for the Democrats--screaming bloody murder and vowing to stop Rauner now would trigger a backlash among Illinoisians who put Rauner in office in the first place. The budget is a mess, and public sector unions are not popular with a large segment of the population, so the Dems are wise not to seem too much in their pocket.

More likely they're waiting for hte unions to agitate publicly, and get popular opinion on their side before fighting the governor. Otherwise, maybe it's best to roll on this one. Unions aren't what they used to be, and their failure in a blue state like Wisconsin might be giving the Democrats pause.

Robert Cook said...

How are union dues "crushing" Illinois taxpayers?

Bob Ellison said...

You mean "calm", not "calmness'.

Unions are so last Tuesday. They are dead. Hello, Detroit! Unions are not an important vector anymore.

Public-sector unions are an abomination.

Peter said...

The Chicago teachers Union rolled over Rahm, and it'll probably roll over Rauner as well.

From the PoV of Wisconsin, Rahm's jousting with the Chicago Teachers Union is probably more interesting, in that Rahm is a a Democrat, and like a number of big-city Democrats, he no longer swears fealty to the public-sector unions. IF Wisconsin Democrats are ever willing to make a similar break, perhaps they'll start winning elections again.

Other than that, Rauner's action seems quixotic: courts will nullify his order, and public-sector unions will mount a mighty backlash. So, what's his game?

MadisonMan said...

How are union dues "crushing" Illinois taxpayers?

Sales tax in Cook Co is -- what -- 10.5% or something like that.

Follow the money, Cook.

Quaestor said...

Explain the calmness

Mostly (1) with a bit of (2), and not any of (3).

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Robert Cook said...

How are union dues "crushing" Illinois taxpayers?

They are not, which is why the governor didn't say that. He said they are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain.

The corrupt bargain is that the forced dues are funding political campaigns that are putting Democrats into office, those Democrats then vote for policies that benefit the unions and crush the taxpayers.

MadisonMan said...

Robert Cook, Cook County. Any relation?

(I didn't make the connection until I hit pubish on my earlier post)

kcom said...

"2. The Democrats feel vulnerable in the next election cycle, and Rauner is shining a light on what actually is something of a "corrupt bargain... crushing taxpayers," and an intemperate reaction would make them look guilty"

This one can't be true. These sorts of Democrats don't have that kind of self-awareness. They never realize when they look guilty. Or stupid. c.f. Wisconsin.

tim in vermont said...

Cook doesn't believe in cause and effect. Sort of like Obama thinks the shootings at the Hyper Kosher market in Paris were "random."

Laslo Spatula said...

"c.f. Wisconsin."

Do you mean c.f. as 'compare' or as short for cluster-fuck?

Both meanings might work, of course.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Rauner is limited to what he can do by executive order."

Rauner is setting up a lawsuit about free speech rights, and it has much more potential than changing the statute. It's massive, actually. He's limited to what he can do by executive order, but that limitation leverages his legal position which, if he wins, affects public employee unions all over the country.

Brian said...

All of the above, and also: often a minority party holds only seats from rock-solid districts, all of the moderate or swing districts having swung to the other side. So the remaining members can do the base's work and be rewarded for it. By contrast, a party that controls the legislature usually does so by controlling both solid seats and swing seats. The people sitting in those swing seats and the party itself have a lot more to lose by doing the base's work at the expense of everyone else.

Meade said...

Tale of Two State Pension Funds

"It was the best of [pension funds], it was the worst of [pension funds], it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Big Mike said...

What Laslo said at 8:28

Laslo Spatula said...

This is all just band-aids on a syphilitic cock.

I am Laslo.

TosaGuy said...

I do a lot of work right by the capitol building in Springfield. In the summer of 2010 I was in town the day of a huge union protest in front of the capitol. Thousands of state union folks from all over the state were bussed in an held signs that said "raise my taxes".

They were getting in front of the issue regarding budget cuts and potential to impact state employee unions and it worked for them in the short term since they had Dem governor to work with.

Michael said...

Very cool. I hope he succeeds in the litigation.

In a similar vein we would have an entirely different tax system if taxpayers received their entire gross every pay period and then had to write checks to the State and the Feds.

rhhardin said...

1. They're not unions. They're lobbies. They don't negotiate with adversaries but with allies.

2. Unions ought to be illegal anyway. Two people can't join to assert more rights against a third party than they originally had individually. In particular a union can't force an empolyer to negotiate with them. Agreement is a matter of contract, not right. But they got that one wrong in the 30s.

Time to fix it.

tim in vermont said...

Thousands of state union folks from all over the state were bussed in an held signs that said "raise my taxes".

Ha ha ha! Of course the idea that other people might read the signs as "Raise *MY* taxes" never occurred to them, on account of they are so smart.

Bob Boyd said...

"This is all just band-aids on a syphilitic cock."

Maybe its tearing band-aids off a syphilitic cock.

MadisonMan said...

Althouse, thanks for the addition that links the Governor's effort to the Supreme Ct ruling on the Home Healthcare Assistants. It clarifies the Governor's move.

Kristian Holvoet said...

In a similar vein we would have an entirely different tax system if taxpayers received their entire gross every pay period and then had to write checks to the State and the Feds.

Particularly if the tax due day was the First Monday in November.

But then, I suppose, same day registration would be abolished. Super strict verification of voter registration would be the norm. Plus there'd be some Douglas Adams-eque process to get registered to vote...

B said...

Mandatory union fees were upheld by the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in a Detroit school board case that concluded fair share dues were constitutional as long as the fees were not used to support a union’s political activities like lobbying or campaign contributions.

Does Professor Althouse want to comment on that 1977 decision?

MadisonMan said...

@Kristian, that's perfect commentary.

Bruce Hayden said...

2. Unions ought to be illegal anyway. Two people can't join to assert more rights against a third party than they originally had individually. In particular a union can't force an empolyer to negotiate with them. Agreement is a matter of contract, not right. But they got that one wrong in the 30s.

I draw the line between private and public employee unions. When faced with an attempt at unionization, companies have a choice. They can agree to be unionized, hopefully knowing that that will ultimately bankrupt them, but hopefully years later, or they can fight the unions, taking a smaller hit today.

But, public employee unions involve that unholy alliance of politicians funded by the unions that they ultimately sit across the bargaining table from. Instead of destroying private companies, they destroy cities and states. The unfunded pension obligations of a lot of cities across the country, and esp. in deep Blue States, are driving them into bankruptcy. And, even when they aren't, they are too often forcing the cities to drastically cut government services - longer lines at the DMV, bigger classrooms, fewer police and fire on the streets, parks closed, etc. With increasing taxes and decreasing city (and state) services, people vote with their feet, when they can, creating a vicious circle as the tax base collapses.

rhhardin said...

I draw the line between private and public employee unions. When faced with an attempt at unionization, companies have a choice.

So how do two people get more rights against a third than they had individually?

Bruce Hayden said...

Does Professor Althouse want to comment on that 1977 decision?

The problem is not the theory, but the practice, such as forcing those opposed to the political use of their money to have to pay it first to the unions, then request to get the political part of their dues back. Opt out, instead of the opt in that Wisconsin has implemented. And, that difference is critical, as shown by the crashing of gross union dues collected by government employee unions in that state.

Bruce Hayden said...

So how do two people get more rights against a third than they had individually?

Not quite sure what you are asking. But, with a company, you can always go to work for another, presumably non-unionized, company. Walking with your feet. I think of private union membership as terms of employment (at least in non-right-to-work states). The one time that I belonged to a union, it was pretty minimal, since we weren't earning that much, and the company couldn't afford to pay any more.

Plenty of other conditions of employment out there. Some companies require you to be drug free. And, I have worked for ones that required a security clearance. You may have to work extra shifts, or extra long ones, or wear certain clothing. Etc. You hopefully go into the situation with your eyes wide open, and are not surprised when they give you a uniform to wear, or take money out of your paycheck as union dues. Etc. And, as I said above, you can always vote with your feet.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think government unions causes some fissures in the democrat party. Its similar to the gay marriage debate in the republican party. Progressives (in the private sector) know that gov. Unions suck out all the extra money for their special interest (enriching union members) that would instead go to "progressive causes" like helping the poor.

In the republican party the gay marriage debate causes the same thing. Many republicans who favor liberty and less government control compared with social issues clash with the more religious oriented base of the party.

The fabric of the American founding still resides in this center-right liberty based part of the republican party. Government unions are in opposition to this. Government unions are not an American virtue. They are more of a communist add-on.

Scott M said...

but Illinois is still a democracy and its laws have meaning

Ah, levity.

traditionalguy said...

He wants to star in his own low budget Scott Walker remake/sequel. But so far he hasn't got a cast of thousands in the streets, Supreme Court choke holds and multiple recall elections.

Maybe Garage can loan the Illinois Dems a Secret Routers PR kit and let them copy the John Doe warrant forms.

Paul said...

Who knows, maybe, must maybe, the unions in Yankee land are gonna be broke, just as they are here in Texas, a right-to-work state.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem is not the theory, but the practice...

While I agree with that the practice is significant, I think the theory is more so. Under current law, I can opt out of paying for union political activities, but not union negotiating costs, even if I disagree with what the union is trying to negotiate for.

For example, if I'm an above-average teacher, I believe I should be compensated more than a below average teacher. In that case the union is negotiating against my interests, because they insist on seniority based pay. And I'm legally obligated to pay for the union to negotiate against my interests ( or quit my job. )

Sounds like a clear first amendment violation to me. ( More a freedom of association issue than a free speech issue. )

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

The 1st Amdt. argument is a good one. But, keep in mind that the 1st Amdt. is only applicable against the government, and not really against private employers. When you go to work for a company, you necessarily most often give up some free speech rights. And, yes, even government employees have some 1st Amdt. rights - though not as strong as the case if they were not government employees. Maybe shouldn't be, but a lot of 1st Amdt. cases in this area apparently revolve around whether the government entity was acting as an employer or in some other fashion.

holdfast said...

In a similar vein we would have an entirely different tax system if taxpayers received their entire gross every pay period and then had to write checks to the State and the Feds.

Yes, those people are called business owners, and we have to write some big checks at the end of each quarter. And given that, it's no wonder that small business owners form the backbone of the Tea Party.

EDH said...

All of us commenters are critical clogs in the Althouse blog!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bruce Hayden said...

The 1st Amdt. argument is a good one. But, keep in mind that the 1st Amdt. is only applicable against the government, and not really against private employers

True, but that would cover all cases of public sector unions. It would also invalidate laws that grant unions the authority to negotiate for all workers, even those that do not want the union to represent them.

A private employer could require union membership if they wanted to, but how many employers would want to do that?

Sebastian said...

"So Rauner's lawsuit has a lot of potential to upset settled expectations about public employee unions."

Yes, this can be big -- but the issue was only "settled" in some jurisdictions and in the minds of liberals.

Things liberals like = "settled." Things liberals don't like = "controversial."

Robert Cook said...

"The corrupt bargain is that the forced dues are funding political campaigns that are putting Democrats into office, those Democrats then vote for policies that benefit the unions and crush the taxpayers."

What policies are passed by Dems (put in office by political campaigns funded by union dues) that are "crushing" the taxpayers?

How can the correlation be shown between union dues and these policies?

Bruce Hayden said...

Sloanasaurus - with the Republicans, you also need to add abortion to gay marriage as divisive issues. And, maybe immigration. But, right now, that is mostly being swept under the rug, in the name of unity. But, it is significant enough, that I don't think that Gov. Huckleberry (social conservative, but favoring big government) has any chance at the Republican nomination.

But, I think that you are correct about the Democrats. Government unions have long had oversized influence in that party. I remember one Dem Nat. Convention where some 1/3 of the delegates were teachers and the like. Traditionally, they supplied the money and the manpower to elect Dem politicians.

The biggest fight in the future there is between the teachers unions and minority communities. More and more money is being spent for worse and worse educational outcomes, and those minority underclass communities are the ones who are hurt the most. These minorities are turning out to be some of the most zealous supporters of educational vouchers, charter schools, etc., which are opposed to the death by teachers' unions in particular, and government employee unions in general. This division is going to get worse, probably much worse, before the two sides can reconcile.

But, it isn't just school choice. Gentry liberals (including limousine and Gulfstream liberals) are strong supporters of abortion. Blacks, in particular, are some of the strongest opponents of it, though there are a lot of pro-life religiously Roman Catholic Hispanics opposing it too. I suspect that this issue is going to be more divisive in the Democratic party than for the Republican one in the future.

Another divisive issue is fracking in particular, and economic development in general. The gentry liberals are rich enough to squander money on environmental purity, AGW, etc. The lower class Dems are not, and, instead strongly desire lower energy costs and more jobs. BTW - this is one of the reasons that the Dems have lost so many lower middle class white voters (formerly their biggest constituency for the last 200+ years) to the Republicans.

Dan from Madison said...

"All of the above/something else?" - Don't discount the fact that Madison already has a "baked in" protest just from the way it exists. Tons of college kids with nothing better to do, left over stoners from the hippie days and plenty of state workers along with a hyper leftist population. Springfield isn't Madison.

madAsHell said...

Wow!!

Pat Quinn managed to hold the office, and not go to jail??

rhhardin said...

Not quite sure what you are asking. But, with a company, you can always go to work for another, presumably non-unionized, company. Walking with your feet.

How is it that the employer loses the right to employ whoever he wants to contract with, instead of having to deal with the union.

The union is people asserting a right against the employer that they do not have individually. Where did they get this created right against a third person?

Mrs Whatsit said...

New York State has an opt-out plan where all employees must pay dues, whether or not they join the union. Non-union employees can write a "Hudson" letter to the union to demand that they refund the part of the dues that goes to political activities. After that, the full amount of dues continues to be withdrawn from every paycheck, but the employee gets a partial refund check every quarter -- with no interest, of course, on the money that the union got to use for a couple of months before paying it back.

The union does its level best to keep non-union employees from finding out that they can demand this refund. I am a lawyer, for crissakes, and worked for the state for several years before I figured it out. Part of the reason I didn't know it is that the union does not comply with the mandate to send out an announcement once a year to non-union employees to tell them what that year's political percentage is of their dues and explain how to opt out. I have been working for the state for almost a decade and have received that announcement only once -- by amazing coincidence, two weeks after I called the union to ask why I had never received one.

They are as corrupt as it gets. And Robert Cook, you are not so naive as to fail to understand how it works: the public sector unions have truckloads of money gathered by compulsion from all of the employees, which they spend to elect Democratic politicians, who then pass legislation and budgets and state employment contracts that benefit unions, who collect more dues and use them to elect Democratic politicians, ad infinitum. If you don't believe it happens in states like New York, you are willfully blinding yourself.

Sloanasaurus said...

"you also need to add abortion to gay marriage as divisive issues."

I don't think abortion and gay marriage are in the same intellectual arena. Pro-choice advocates like to say abortion is a rights issue for the mother, but they are really concluding that the unborn child is not a person with rights. For example, no one would disagree that a person has the right to remove a growing cyst from their body. The cyst does not have separate rights. Similarly if the child has no rights, then it is the same as a cyst and no one would objet to its removal.

Abortion is not really a rights/liberty issue for the mother. It's really a moral societal question of when the unborn has the right to life.

Robert Cook said...

"Unions ought to be illegal anyway. Two people can't join to assert more rights against a third party than they originally had individually. In particular a union can't force an employer to negotiate with them. Agreement is a matter of contract, not right. But they got that one wrong in the 30s."

Heh. Talk about begging to become a slave, and being grateful for being one.

Unions permit individual workers--who have no negotiating power over entities who would employ them, and thus serve at the whim of their employers--to join together with other workers. This union of workers gives the whole a power each individual lacks, the power to assert some influence over the terms of their employment. Whatever terms are reached are formalized by legal contracts, but it is the power represented by a body of workers that compels the employer to meet with them at all, to consider their terms, and to negotiate contractual terms of employment.

You can thank much of the working conditions you take for granted--five day work weeks, 8 hour days, various other benefits--to the struggles of the unions decades ago.

Now that unions are waning in membership and in influence in this country, we're seeing workers being treated more and more as chattel, as they were in the 19th and early 20th centuries. If you want to see how employers would really like to treat their workers, look to Dubai, or China, where many workers are defacto slaves, forced to live in barracks, separated from their families, their freedom to come and go curtailed to greater or lesser degree.

Bob Ellison said...

union = monopoly

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, please join us in the latter half of the 20th century. We are not talking about meat plants in 1906.

Go and be chattel. I welcome you.

damikesc said...

New York State has an opt-out plan where all employees must pay dues, whether or not they join the union.

Honestly...how does that not violate Free Assembly?

I'd allowed to assemble...or NOT assemble if I choose to do so --- but NYS apparently says I don't actually have that right.

The 1st Amdt. argument is a good one. But, keep in mind that the 1st Amdt. is only applicable against the government, and not really against private employers. When you go to work for a company, you necessarily most often give up some free speech rights.

But if the state states that you HAVE to support a union financially, wouldn't that violate 1st Amendment pretty substantially?

If you were REQUIRED to give money to a church, that'd violate it pretty clearly. How does this not do the same?

Saying you HAVE to assemble with a union to do a job seems like a pretty solid violation of your Rights.

Chuck said...

Professor Althouse, this is a terrific post, well-written, with superb analysis. One of your very best.

Alex said...

It's the Walker disease! What will garage do?

Alex said...

Chicago unions make Madison unions look like wimps. You do not want to mess with Chicago unions!

I Callahan said...

Explain the calmness

The calmness is that the governor is not going to be able to make this decision all by himself, and that the Illinois legislature will never vote for it.

furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

...they are a critical cog in a corrupt bargain.

It's a elegant money laundering system, perpetrated in plain sight, in its own way like the Mob's skimming the take in the movie Casino:

State of Illinois collects mandatory revenue from taxpayers.

State of Illinois makes payroll, benefits and pension commitments to Illinois' civil service unions with mandatory revenue collected from taxpayers.

Illinois civil service unions collect mandatory dues from the payroll commitments met from mandatory revenue collected by taxpayers.

Illinois civil service unions finance the campaigns of favored candidates from the mandatory dues collected from the payroll commitments made by the State of Illinois using the mandatory revenue collected from Illinois taxpayers.

Illinois civil service unions then bargain with appointees of the candidates whose campaigns they funded from the mandatory dues collected from the payroll commitments made by the State of Illinois using the mandatory revenue collected from Illinois taxpayers.

Rinse, Repeat. *EVERY*one's complicit, includign the taxpayers. Cali Cartel had NOTHING on these guys.

furious_a said...

Chicago/Cook County is more straightforward, make-work or non-existent jobs from which salaries are kicked back to the Aldermen.

Nobody cares as long as the snowplows are running.

furious_a said...


Don't get on your high horse. Christians extracted dues from Middle Easterners during the Crusades.

Anonymous said...

Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook, please join us in the latter half of the 20th century. We are not talking about meat plants in 1906."

No, we're talking about McDonalds and Wal-Mart in 2015.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

madisonfella said...

Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?

Conservatives are not suggesting that unions provide their 'services' to non-members. Unions can negotiate wages and benefits for their members, and the company can offer different wages and benefits to non-union employees.

It's called liberty. Conservatives are for it, unions are against it.

ken in tx said...

I have family members, in Right to Work states, who were nevertheless required to join a union to be hired. What unions cannot do legally, they can accomplish through threats and intimidation. It is no accident that some unions are associated in the public mind with the mafia and thuggish behaviour.

Curious George said...

"madisonfella said...
Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?"

Thanks for stopping in a dropping a steaming pile of stupid. Because this analogy is based on bullshit.

In most cases the employer is REQUIRED to use union labor, whether they want to or not

And workers are REQUIRED to become members and pay union dues, whether they want to or not.



Ann Althouse said...

"Does Professor Althouse want to comment on that 1977 decision?"

I discussed the new case, Harris v. Quinn, on the day it came out, here:

---------------------------------------

In Harris v. Quinn, "The Court recognizes a category of 'partial public employees' that cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees."

That report, from SCOTUSblog, make it sound like a minimalist result, not the "kill shot" to unions that we were discussing here yesterday.

Here's the full opinion. It's written by Alito and 5-4, in the usual 5-4, conservatives-and-liberals split.

ADDED: The majority opinion discusses a set of precedents that I won't attempt to summarize. It criticizes the precedents for failing to recognize the difference between public and private sector unions:

"In the public sector, core issues such as wages, pen­sions, and benefits are important political issues, but that is generally not so in the private sector."

For this reason, the money extracted from nonmembers to cover the work on their behalf by the unions can't so easily be called nonpolitical, so the problem of compelled speech can't be avoided by saying that only part of the union dues pays for political speech. It's all political:

"Collective  bargaining concerns the union’s dealings with the employer; political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government.  But in the public sector, both collective­ bargaining and political advocacy and lobbying are di­rected at the government."

AND: It sure was political — salary, pensions, health insurance — here in Wisconsin. It was the most political thing I'd seen in 30 years of living in Wisconsin. (Not that the Supreme Court case mentions Wisconsin.)

MountainMan said...

It's been nice to live in Tennessee for most of the past 40 years and not have to put up with the problem of public employee unions - collective baragaining by public employee unions is illegal, except for teachers. And state employees still hava pay, benefits, and pensions that most private sector workers envy, especially the retirement.

When, in February 2009, the local unit of hte NEA/TEA managed to get a collective bargaining election in our city school system- regared as the best or second best in the state - the teachers voted it down by a better than 3-1 margin.

And people in places like WI, IL, and NY think we are just a bunch of dumb hillbillies.

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Rauner is limited to what he can do by executive order."

Rauner is setting up a lawsuit about free speech rights, and it has much more potential than changing the statute. It's massive, actually. He's limited to what he can do by executive order, but that limitation leverages his legal position which, if he wins, affects public employee unions all over the country.


Here's my take.
This is the only way he can get around Michael Madigan and the Corporation Council that actually run Illinois politics.


Comrade Bob. Illinois has nearly 100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
There are two ways this can go. One is to raise the state income tax. Something Rauner has promised not to do. There will be a spate of new taxes or increased taxes on services already existing. That is inevitable. The second is to cut pension benefits. There is a move now to close some state offices and let employees go.

EMD said...

No, we're talking about McDonalds and Wal-Mart in 2015.

Do tell, with a link to something other than Counterpunch.

mrs.e said...

"Robert Cook, please join us in the latter half of the 20th century. We are not talking about meat plants in 1906."

No, we're talking about McDonalds and Wal-Mart in 2015.


In general, we're talking about the service industry.

richard mcenroe said...

3. The embarrassing spectacle of Wisconsin Dems fleeing the state and hiding out in titty bars provided an exact model for what not to do?

rhhardin said...

You can thank much of the working conditions you take for granted--five day work weeks, 8 hour days, various other benefits--to the struggles of the unions decades ago.

If I want to work some other week, and somebody wants to employ me, why can't I contract with him to do that?

We both come out ahead. That's why voluntary arrangements are important.

Unions are not voluntary, meaning that the wealth of the nation falls.

Unions with clout displace other workers, to the cost of the displaced workers.

That's not controversial except as a talking point.

MadisonMan said...

You can thank much of the working conditions you take for granted--five day work weeks, 8 hour days, various other benefits--to the struggles of the unions decades ago.

The underlying assumption is that things would not have evolved this way had the Unions not been there. I'm not sure that is the case.

In any event, how long should the Unions be resting on these laurels? What have they done lately. I am reminded of the laughable article in the paper here in Madison when the Madison Teachers were holding their recertification process about how the Unions back in 1969 fought for the right of a pregnant teacher not to be terminated. How on Earth is that relevant today?

damikesc said...

Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?

Are there other businesses that demand you pay for their services even if you absolutely do not want them?

Or is it only unions who demand fealty to them against your will?

Bruce Hayden said...

Unions permit individual workers--who have no negotiating power over entities who would employ them, and thus serve at the whim of their employers--to join together with other workers.

Well, yeh, maybe, for private unions. But we are talking public employee unions. Who is on the other side there of the bargaining table? The taxpayers, of course, have to fund any increases in wages, benefits, or, most importantly these days, pensions. And, who is looking out for the taxpayers? Supposedly the same politicians who took so much money and labor from those same public employee unions.

My point is that you are using arguments in favor of unions in the private sector to justify unions of government employees. But, the equities just don't transfer. It just doesn't work. Partly because the priority should be the taxpayers. And partly because of the diffuse interest problem, where those advocating for higher wages (e.g. the unionized government employees) have a much higher interest in the matter than the taxpayers do, since the government employees stand to gain, on an individual basis, much more than the taxpayers will lose. Which is why we see most school board elections here dominated by the teachers' unions.

D Palmer said...

The dems are not afraid because they know this will take years to get to the Supreme Court and in the mean time their union bosses will collect dues and send it along. It is possible that Rauner will stand for re-election before this gets decided.

Gahrie said...

Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?

Hospitals immediately come to mind....

SGT Ted said...

Government civilian workers have never been worked like private sector sweat shop labor. They don't need a union.

Fiftyville said...

My, my, my. There's only one other thing I would never have expected to hear in Illinois: "The Cubs win the World Series!"

Titus said...

I say destroy unions.

Robert Cook said...

"In general, we're talking about the service industry."

Which is where the jobs are increasingly going to be. Even lawyers and accountants and other such professionals have to find work as temps these days.

Robert Cook said...

"'No, we're talking about McDonalds and Wal-Mart in 2015.'

"Do tell, with a link to something other than Counterpunch."


No link is needed; just pay attention to the world around you.

Michael K said...

"They are waiting to see the amount of the bribes the unions will be offering to determine their volume of outrage. Their exhortations will not be cheap."

Yes. When I was on the CMA Commission on Legislation we would see what we called "Juice bills" come along. They were sometimes sham legislation, but always were written to gore some organization's, or union's ox.

The result would be a bribing contest to be judged by the legislature. Rauner may have other ideas, however.

We will see.

Michael K said...

"Government unions have long had oversized influence in that party. I remember one Dem Nat. Convention where some 1/3 of the delegates were teachers and the like. "

That was the post-McGovern "reform" that turned the Democrats hard left.

Michael K said...

"Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?
"

Hilarious, Inga. Tell me again what unions produce except Democrats ?

tim in vermont said...

Are there any other businesses that should be required, by law, to provide their services to everyone regardless if the consumer wants to pay for it or not? Or is it only labor unions that conservatives want to fuck over in this manner?

I guess I will start a business where people are required by law to take my services whether they want them or not, and see how long it is before you properly attack me as a crony capitalist.

Meredith said...

If, as President Obama showed us, an executive can exercise wide discretion in enforcing the laws -- say, by not deporting illegal aliens -- then why can the governor of Illinois simply "de prioritize" any forced collection of union dues by not withholding them from paychecks?

Rusty said...

You can thank much of the working conditions you take for granted--five day work weeks, 8 hour days, various other benefits--to the struggles of the unions decades ago.


I think Henry Ford did all that before there was a UAW.
Other industries followed suit to keep up with Ford.

Robert Cook said...

Don't be coy, Rusty. Why not mention that Ford cut the shifts from nine hours to eight after nearly a century of agitation by labor around the world for shortened work days, (which were commonly up to 14 hours a day)--and after other industries and other parts of the world started implementing shortened days (and after laws started being passed here and there guaranteeing shortened days), all in response to the concerted decades of effort by labor.

Ford may have been somewhat more enlightened and forward looking than some of of his capitalist peers--strictly as regards the efficacy of better pay and working conditions for his employees, certainly not otherwise--but his decision did not arise from the void, from the great well of humanity unique to him, but as a result of the influence of the long-term global agitation by labor for such shorter days.

Again, one merely needs look at employers today--here and around the world--whose employees work for pittances, under onerous conditions, who, in some cases, are equivalent to indentured servants, or even near-slaves. This is what capital would do if it were completely unimpeded by law or labor; capital is remorseless in its purpose, and will do what it can to maximize profit. This is a feature of capitalism, not a bug.

Rusty said...

No Bob.
Ford did it. And gave everybody a raise.

You're old and out of touch, Bob.Your ideas are the ideas of a failed, last century philosophy. Devoid of morals, devoid of humanity. Devoid of passion. A broken pocket watch in a quartz timepiece age

Rusty said...

Now, Bob. If you have a solution to the question of unfunded pension liabilities, which is Rauners main concern, I'd be willing to listen.

Robert Cook said...

Here is the true face of capitalism.

Rusty said...

Bob.
What does that have to do with the subject at hand?

Dave said...

People don't realize how bad it is here. There's a guy in Niles with a pension valued at $26M. Seemingly every state employee has a worthless master's degree that doubles their pay, despite being barely literate.

Public sector unions should be illegal. They're nothing more than an open conspiracy to fleece taxpayers.

Dave said...

"Again, one merely needs look at employers today--here and around the world--whose employees work for pittances, under onerous conditions, who, in some cases, are equivalent to indentured servants, or even near-slaves."

Your visa to the workers' paradises in Cuba or North Korea is waiting, Bob. In the meantime, either learn some marketable skills or stop whining.

Dave said...

"You can thank much of the working conditions you take for granted--five day work weeks, 8 hour days"

You can thank the industrialists for creating a world so productive that people can work that little without starving to death.

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to get ahead laughs at the notion of working 5 days of 8 hours per week.

RonF said...

“In the public sector, core issues such as wages, pensions and benefits are important political issues, but that is generally not so in the private sector,” Alito wrote. “In the years since (the ruling), as state and local expenditures on employee wages and benefits have mushroomed, the importance of the difference between bargaining in the public and private sectors has been driven home.”


Which is why both Samuel Gompers and Franklin Delano Roosevelt thought that public unions were un-American.

Anonymous said...

"Bruce Rauner’s scheme to strip the rights of state workers and weaken their unions"

Anyone stupid or dishonest enough to make that statement has no valid role in public debate.

Rauner's protecting the "rights of state workers" by fighting for their right not to be robbed by the union.