June 27 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to labor unions Wednesday, ruling that government workers who don’t join a union can’t be charged for collective bargaining.
In a 5-4 decision, the court delivered another major win to conservatives this week — following its decision Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
“Supreme Court rules in favor of non-union workers who are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Justice Samuel Alito said the requirement that government workers who opt out of a union must pay dues to cover the union’s cost of negotiating is a violation of free speech rights.
“We have held time and again that freedom of speech includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all,” he wrote in the majority. “Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.”
Alito said forcing workers to endorse ideas they find objectionable would be “demeaning,” and that compelling one to subsidize the speech of private speakers raises First Amendment concerns.
Justice Elena Kagan was joined in dissent by the court’s other three liberal justices.
“Under that decision, a government entity could require public employees to pay a fair share of the cost that a union incurs when negotiating on their behalf over terms of employment,” she wrote for the minority. “But no part of that fair-share payment could go to any of the union’s political or ideological activities.”
“The First Amendment was meant for better things,” she added.”It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance-including over the role of public-sector unions.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the decision only benefits wealthy corporations.
“Attacking unions is one of the most powerful tactics in the Republican playbook to enrich their wealthy friends at the expense of working people,” he wrote.”In fact, Republicans are so determined to undermine workers that they held a Supreme Court seat hostage for nearly 14 months in order to nominate an aggressively anti-union justice.”