(NNPA)—The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Harris v Quinn essentially means that personal care attendants who are represented by a union do not need to pay a service fee that would cover the cost of representing and advocating on their behalf. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority justified this decision purportedly on the basis of freedom of speech.
What is clear is that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has a sniper’s scope trained on workers and unions. They will soon aim to eliminate the ability of labor unions to collect service fees from non-members to cover representation. The implications of this are profound but a little context is necessary.
In the public sector, there are many states, counties and municipalities that permit union membership and collective bargaining, but do not require that employees in a given agency join the union. While they may join the union, they are obligated — if there is such an agreement– to pay a service or agency fee. The idea here is that regardless of whether one is a union member or not, the union is obligated by law to represent fairly and fully all workers in what is called a “bargaining unit,” which is a recognized body of workers who share similar interests.