Mute your outrage for a moment and ponder a simple question: If unions are so benevolent — so vitally important to the welfare of the American worker — why do so many people flee them in droves at the first opportunity?
Anyone not completely blinded by ideology knows the answer: Unions just aren’t worth it anymore.
That’s why Big Labor has been gasping for air during the past several decades. That’s why its last bastion is the public sector, where unions have to rely on the force of government to shake down workers for dues and membership.
But hopefully, not for much longer.
The recent 5-4 ruling in Harris v. Quinn case ruled home health care workers in Illinois can’t be compelled to pay partial dues — known as “agency fees” — to a union they don’t want to join.
The case in question involved home health caregivers who worked in private homes for individuals who could hire and fire them. Their only connection to the state was that part of their pay came via Medicaid. Because the court found such workers were not state employees, the decision emancipates people working in similar circumstances in some two-dozen other states with similar union extortion laws on the books.
The court rightfully found that mandatory union fees violated the workers’ First Amendment rights because it compelled them, as Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, “to subsidize speech on matters of public concern by a union that they do not wish to join or support.”
The court could — and probably should — have applied that same standard to all public employees, not just quasi-public ones.
So while Harris was a major win in the battle for workplace freedom, it wasn’t the ultimate victory. That would come with the overturning of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
The 1977 Abood case upheld the state’s ability to force full-fledged public employees to pay union dues, helping strengthen the parasitic vote-buying relationship between government unions and the Democratic elected officials who feed them from the taxpayer trough.
Cases that could lead to such a reversal already are working their way through the federal courts.
We hope those cases surface sooner rather than later. Taxpaying citizens — the ones who have to pay for the bloated government behemoth and its obscene employee-pension plans — have no chance of reining in the out-of-control public sector as long as workers are forced to fund unions’ Big Government-advocacy efforts.
If public-sector employees want to participate in union activities, and pay dues to support those activities, fine. Those who don’t want anything to do with a union should be allowed to walk the other way.
They probably would be just as happy to keep their opinions, and their money, to themselves.