SCOTUS Kicks Open the Union-Busting Door

I subscribe to opposition newsletters, and reading through the various (generic) Right Wing hatespeak that spewed forth with my morning mail, I came across a link to this:

High Court Upholds Curb on Political Use of Union Fees

By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2007; Page A02

The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously upheld a Washington state law that requires public employee unions to get permission before making political contributions using fees they collect from nonmembers.

The law, unique in the nation, was adopted in a 1992 referendum to limit unions’ spending of the “agency fees” they deduct from the paychecks of employees who do not belong to the unions but are represented by them in collective bargaining.

… Though no other states have adopted laws similar to Washington’s, yesterday’s ruling confirms that they have a right to do so.

The Supremes have handed Right Wing zillionaires a huge gift, and it ain’t even Christmas.

To get some idea of the magnitude of this, imagine for a moment that the Supreme Court ruled a law constitutional that banned corporations from contributing to political campaigns, unless they had the permission of all their stockholders. Would you support such a law? I know I would.

There has been an organized movement to decimate unions’ ability to engage in political activity for several years now. The moribund corpse of that movement has just received CPR and a shot of adrenaline.

They tried to run this sort of initiative in Oregon in 1998, and the movement was gaining steam. This is the silly season for ballot initiatives, of course. (I was just contacted for some information on petition gathering contractors by activists in northern Oreg0n), and the secret money behind these sorts of things like to run multi-state campaigns, once they’ve got “an issue.”

So, be forewarned: the head of the “Center for Union Facts” (allegedly shady lobbyist Rick Berman) explained the strategy at the Americans for Limited Government astroturf conference in Chicago last August. Whether we win or not, he said, we pin down the unions and force them to play defense.

You need to understand that this all runs UNDER the national radar, and most national news outlets will cover it sparingly, if at all. The locals generally have their one big state newspaper, and that’s about it. Trust me, whether they win or not, a massive attack on the unions will pin down progressives on defense, which is just what the Right would like, as a distraction to keep their crappy incumbents in office, come November ’08.

An ounce of prevention, as they say.

In my long investigative series on the money cabal behind literally three dozen initiatives last year (and lord knows how many over the past decade), it became increasingly clear that they view unions as the ONLY institutional entity standing in their way to gut safety laws; and most expecially to eliminate taxes, corporate responsibility, land use law, labor law and even minimum wages. And, of course, eliminating unions altogether is a high priority.

Now, they’ve got the wedge issue they need to cripple union funding. For details see my investigative report on the bogus PSA’s that managed to fool the local AirAmerica affiliate into running anti-union spots from the “National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.”

SCOTUS has declared open season on unions. Watch the hunters flock to the chase.

The judgment was a rare 9-0. Take that as you will. (Interestingly, Justices Breyer, Roberts and Alito refused to sign on to portions of Scalia’s majority opinion.)

You’ve been forewarned.


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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One Response to SCOTUS Kicks Open the Union-Busting Door

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    Unions have as much to gain from promoting the use of a Constitutional Convention at this time as any other “interest group”. Sadly, they are one of the easiest targets in our society. They can be attacked effectively in any number of different ways and places, and there is a concerted strategy for doing just that. Unions have been subtly and not so subtly bad mouthed in the media for long enough that tons of misinformation is now being accepted as truth.

    The reason why a Constitutional Convention offers a unique means of problem solving is because there is virtually no other form of in depth discussion left in our society. The internet approximates what we need to have, but it is still so thinly used. Thankfully, the magnitude of the decision to stand back and take a fresh, comprehensive look at ourselves is such that it will capture and hold the attention of the entire society.

    How this applies specifically to Unions is that labor is a huge, but largely ignored, stakeholder in our economy. Given the fact that labor has more votes than both management and capital combined, Unions should be able to figure out how to use the Convention to get their positions circulated in the most favorable possible form. The end of the Convention can mark the end of Unions being used as convenient whipping boys.