Supreme Court hands devastating blow to unions that have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into Democrat coffers
One of the bedrock funding sources of the Democratic Party will see its resources severely curtailed, as the Supreme Court just handed down its decision in Janus v. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. As a result, government workers no longer can be required to pay anything to unions that they have been required to join in the past.
In so doing, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the Court:
... overruled a 1977 precedent that had fueled the growth of public-sector unionization even as representation has withered in private industry. More than one-third of public employees are unionized, compared with just 6.5% of those in the private sector, according to a January report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2016 alone, teacher unions took $33.2 million out of members' paychecks and gave it to political candidates and parties, virtually all to the Democrats. AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, was in for $15.7 million, and the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union (which includes government and private employees), handed over a massive $39.4 million that its members had earned. Over the decades since President Nixon first authorized the unionization of federal employees, the total amounts to hundreds of millions of 2018 dollars, not even counting the value of donated hours of work offered almost exclusively to Democrats.
In addition to these Big Three, smaller local government worker unions have, in some places, accumulated huge influence over their members' wages through high levels of political donations. Consider the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, whose 27,000 members receive a base wage of $76,000, with many of them topping $100K after overtime and other add-ons for a job that requires a GED diploma. In just six months' time prior to the 2016 elections, the 27,000 prison guards coughed up $8.2 million for California pols – again, virtually all Democrats. So powerful are the prison guards that even though the California Legislative Analyst's Office (an organ of the state legislature) reported that there would be no problem filling all the jobs without a pay raise, Governor Jerry Brown and the legislature insisted on giving them a 5% hike:
Brown has a "weak justification" for the 5 percent raise, the LAO concluded in a report to the Legislature, which will vote on whether to approve the contract. It's the biggest wage increase given to the prison guards since 2006. Their last contract provided a cumulative 9.3 percent pay hike over three years.
In 2017, Brown made deals with other state worker unions that gave out wage hikes of 3.5 to 4 percent. Employees in some specialized categories received higher wage increases if the state was having trouble recruiting and retaining people to do those jobs.
The LAO said it sees "no evidence of recruitment or retention issues to justify the large pay increase" to the CCPOA's 27,000 members.
If the new contract is approved, wages for correctional officers will be 67 percent higher than they were in 2001.
Unions are already desperately seeking to retain dues-paying members now that they cannot be compelled to hand over hundreds of dollars a year or more to the union bosses. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The American Federation of Teachers has contacted 800,000 teachers in 10 states and persuaded 237,000 to sign recommitment cards that are legally binding in some states, said Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6 million-member union. ...
Bracing for losses, the National Education Association, the nation's largest union with nearly 3 million members, cut its budget by $50 million. It fears losing agency fees from 90,000 members.
The ruling affects 22 states, because the other 28 states already offer workers the protection of Right to Work laws, which outlaw compulsory unionization.
Ironically, it is blue states like California, Illinois, and New York that ultimately will be winners, even as their politicians protest. Taxes in those states and cities are high and driving away people, in part because the kickbacks from wages to politicians, with the union standing as the intermediary, have pushed up wages – and pension benefits – to levels far above those in red states.