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Home / US / The Janu case at the Supreme Court could "cripple" CA unions

The Janu case at the Supreme Court could "cripple" CA unions

Thirteen years ago, the California Teachers' Union came into contact with the governor of the movie star and crushed him at the ballot box. He financed almost half of the $ 121 million campaign that had flooded his proposals on extending term and limiting government spending.

The rejection of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiatives in 2005 brought the message that involvement with state public unions would be a costly and potentially fruitless struggle.

But the next governor may not have to do the same. 19659002] The Supreme Court is due to file a lawsuit on Monday that could weaken the public unions of the state by prohibiting them from collecting fees from workers who refuse to join them.

These fees are referred to as agency fees California is one of the states that allow unions to collect them so that the workers who benefit from the union representation do not get a "free ride". Critics say that they are undermining the First Manifesto The rights of workers who do not want to support their money are causing them against themselves.

Union leaders who look at the composition of the Supreme Court expect a loss that their membership may have by a third or more will diminish. [1

96592002] This begs the question whether Schwarzenegger's initiatives would have existed if the California Teachers Association had $ 20 million less to throw them?

Union leaders and right and left politicians say it's too early to say they expect a gradual reorganization of the state's political landscape when the Supreme Court takes a decision to eliminate fair share fees.

"By financially paralyzing unions by the Supreme Court of the United States, they are eliminating their ability to fight for electoral rulings, laws and other campaigns that further protect working families," the California Senate President said, per Tem Kevin de León, a former organizer of the California Teachers Association [19659002] He emphasized that the consequences of unions' deflation would lead to other priorities for the Democratic Party beyond the protection of public workers.

"Without unions there is no guaranteed minimum wage of $ 15 an hour, they are removing unions from this equation and the quality of life of ordinary Americans will suffer," he said.

The Case of the Supreme Court, Janus Vs. AFSCME depends on a worker in Illinois who does not want to pay fair fees because he does not agree with the union's political activities.

"The union's voice is not my vote, the union's fight is not my fight," he wrote in the Chicago Tribune two years ago, criticizing AFSCME's support for politicians who, in his view, cut the state's solvency through ruthless spending endangered.

The argument is almost identical to a case heard by the Supreme Court in 2016 that directed the California Teachers' Association, Friedrichs against the CTA. The death of Judge Antonin Scalia this year led to the court holding the case at 4-4 and allowing the unions to raise fair share fees.

Now with Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's commissioner, filling Scalia's seat, Union Leader Tony knocked at an expected loss while they plan to increase their membership in another environment.

"Personally, I'm not afraid, it's easy to feel anxious and negative about all these attacks, but the fighting is nothing new," said CTA President Eric Heins. "I've seen what our members and educators are willing to do when they feel their students are threatened, our schools are threatened, and we'll push the positive stuff forward."


Trade unions have a big voice in California politics, from local elections for sheriffs and school boards to nationwide initiatives where voters divide their preferences into taxes, criminal justice and social issues. They are often the most engaged voting bloc in local elections, and they can dominate nationwide initiatives.

A Supreme Court ruling against fair share fees "will at least level the playing field," said Jon Coupal, executive director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, which supports government spending restraints. "Right now, if we go into a legislative battle because the unions can deduct union dues without permission, they have an automatic advantage, and that is extremely significant."

The unions and their allies collectively brought out Schwarzenegger in 2005 When the former governor and his supporters made $ 76 million available to limit government spending and facilitate the shooting of teachers. Unions led by the CTA and other Democratic supporters initiated a $ 121 million campaign to defeat Schwarzenegger's proposals.

Since then, unions have played an important role in getting voters to support tax hikes. 19659002] In 2012, for example, trade unions helped Gov. Jerry Brown was building a $ 90 million war chest to pass an electoral initiative that raised taxes on the rich. The initiative was passed even though their opponents were $ 98 million, according to campaign funding.

In 2016, voters extended these tax increases. The CTA has invested $ 21 million in the $ 59 million campaign. There was no significant resistance.

Union leaders say these campaigns are important to champion the interests of their members and support the public services that Californians value, from maintaining firefighting to conducting background checks for caregivers.

Our record of the great fight is good, and the reason is that these battles are really about our values, our middle class, the working class way of life. It defends an attack on it. In what kind of California do we want to live? Said Yvonne Walker, president of the largest union of the state government, Service Employees International Union Local 1000.

Charter schools and pensions

But the unions are not always winning In fact, they are overtaken in some key races.

Im In May, for example, charter schools and other outside groups have promoted an underdog candidate to victory in a record-breaking Los Angeles Unified School District charter-based Nick Melvoin angered union-sponsored incumbent Steve Zimmer.

Corporate groups also raised Orinda Democrat Sen. Steve Glazer defeated a union-backed candidate in 2015. He has since broken with his party by resisting the gas tax Gov Brown wore last year, and supported proposals that limit spending on public pensions

Political Strates Both sides emphasize that the unions will not lose their political power overnight. The state legislature took steps to buy insurance, pass laws guaranteeing them access to new public employees, and discourage their employers from sharing personal contact information of public employees with unions.

Although union membership is likely to decline following the court ruling, it may not decline as sharply as the spiral that Wisconsin saw after the state banned collective bargaining for most public employees in 2010. The California Democratic Legislature would probably not take any such action as an incentive to stay with their workforce.

"They will not be non-factors, they will be at the negotiating table," said Russell Lowery, a former Senate Republican faction chief of staff who is now advising local governments on how to negotiate with workers' groups. "This is an opportunity to solve the problems that people have identified, such as pensions. Make a better business," he said.

When republican groups decide to test unions after a court ruling, they are likely to conduct campaigns that open more charter schools and limit public pensions for white-collar workers, say political strategists. Those issues allow trade union critics to see taxpayers getting less for their money while their local governments spend more resources to pay bills to California's public sector pension system.

"Over the next four to five years, you will see a number of cities declared bankrupt, a combination of the pension crisis and the end of union fees could have a major impact on California," said Kevin Spillane, a Republican adviser, as well works with non-unionized Democrats.

In this scenario, the public unions of the state would have to become "creative" if they kept their membership lists and pushed them back against the groups that they would further define.

Heins of CTA and Walker of SEIU 1000 believe that they have the resources they need for this kind of ballot boxing.

"There is only enough that you can put on working people before they get up and say, 'No more,'" Walker said. "While this will be a moment, ultimately, because our fight is about values ​​and about working people, I ultimately believe we win."

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