By William Haupt III | The Center Square contributor
Janus, the plaintiff in Janus vs. AFSCME, speaks to supporters outside the U.S.
Supreme Court on Feb. 26, 2018. - Dan McCaleb / The Center Square
“Take this job and shove it. I ain't work-en here no
more. You better not stand in my way, As I'm walk-en out the door. Take this
job and shove it! I ain't work-en here no more."– Johnny Paycheck
For years, cities, counties and states spent millions of
dollars paying full time salaries and benefits for employees that were
obligated to belong to labor unions. Collective bargaining agreements with labor
unions around America were financed by high paid union lobbyists and bosses.
Their mission was to obtain capriciously high salaries and benefits for civil
servants compared to private industry.
Since the early 1900s, public sector union bosses have unified
with Democratic federal, state and local politicians to enact policies that
forced civil service workers to pay ransom in order to keep their jobs. To
appease members for receiving more for doing less, union bosses used their dues
money to finance the election of Democrats who'd reward them with gratuitous
Almost three years to the day, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled in favor of Mark Janus in the landmark Janus v. AFSCME case. They held it
was unconstitutional to force public sector workers to pay money to a union to
maintain employment. The case was filed by Mark Janus, who balked at paying
dues for collective bargaining and other work that the union did on behalf of
their employees in the workplace.
While organized labor was dealt a major blow by the
Supreme Court in Janus, the ruling did not impact obligations in the private
sector. The court held that the private-sector model cannot be applied to
"public sector unions," since collective bargaining in the public
service is approved by government officials.
"There is no need in the public sector to have
collective bargaining because the government is the people and people cannot
bargain with themselves." – Franklin Roosevelt
The Janus decision was a win for taxpayers also since
they pay the salaries and benefits of public service employees. Many Americans
thought it was unfair for pubic service union members to pay into a system that
was financed by them. These unions didn’t only concern themselves with labor
issues, they engaged in political activity. Janus gave employees freedom of
political choice also.
Public unions in all union states were affected by Janus.
It was predicted Janus would destroy the public-sector unions since they would
lose income. This would also limit their political power. Why would workers who
could receive the same benefits as members without paying dues join a union?
But America underestimated the political power of public
service unions. They had an arsenal of state and federal politicians in their
hip pocket by the time SCOTUS ruled on Janus.
"When buying and selling are controlled by
legislation, the first things to be bought are legislators." – P J
Many liberal states with strong unions had already taken
legal steps to buffer public-sector unions against the impact of a positive
Janus ruling. Unions were aware they would lose dues money and members, and
were working with liberal politicians to cut their losses. Therefore, the Janus
decision did not negatively affect the unions or their Democratic Party allies
like labor experts had predicted.
Within weeks of the Janus ruling, blue states passed
legislation to protect unions from the impact of Janus. Liberal states like New
York, where 70% of public employees are unionized, were first toreact. Fallen
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order shielding work records of public
union employees to prevent them from being informed of their newly acquired
rights. Cuomo said, "This order is to protect workers from harassment and
intimidation by the union haters." His order also required new hires to
meet with union reps so they could be intimidated into joining the union.
Blue state Democrats went on a rampage to protect their
political revenue. California, Maryland, and Washington gave unions access to
employee records. California also made new hires meet with unions.
"The only effective answer to organized greed is
organized labor." –Thomas Donahue
California, Washington and New Jersey prohibited
employers from discouraging membership. In New Jersey, public employers who
violated this provision would have to reimburse unions for lost dues. These
laws were designed to prevent workers from learning about their rights after
Although public service unions found ways to work around
Janus, there were some unanticipated benefits of Janus. The difference between
public and private unions is critical. Private unions are governed in the text
of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and by federal court decisions. But
no matter how much these unions pay liberal politicians, taxpayers only
indirectly foot the bill.
Since the Janus case was tried in the court of public
opinion, it shed light on the obtrusive power of the unions. And this did not
sit well with many Americans who blamed unions for higher prices on tangible
goods and services. They took their anger to state legislatures who began
passing right to work laws.
"The right to work simply means 'the right to work'
and nothing more." – Scott Walker
The U.S. union labor movement has been in crisis for
years and has continued to hitch its hopes for survival on state and federal
Democrats. But no matter what liberal lawmakers do for the unions their slide
will be impossible to reverse since union interests are at odds with those of
Unions are out of touch with today's
every-man-for-himself attitude. The Hoffa days of brotherhood are gone forever.
Former AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka tried to strictly enforce the Fair
Labor Standards and National Labor Relations Acts to force more people into
unions, but that backfired. Workers value individual pay over collectivism.
They want the best deal for them, not for a union.
John Wooden told us, “It's OK to be a team player. But
personal effort makes you a winner.” Only 10.3% of the U.S. workforce is
unionized today. Labor Department data reveal that is half of what it was in
1983 and a third of what it was in 1950. With many states passing right to work
laws and employers and employees benefiting from them, the labor union model of
"one size fits all" in the workplace is obsolete. Workers care less
about brotherhood and more about their own paycheck.
The irony of Janus is it had little affect on public
unions since blue states were able to neutralize it. Although Janus did not
apply to private unions, it publicized the political power of unions and voters
reacted. Today, the entire south is right to work and a total of 30 states now
have right to work laws.
Georgetown's Joseph McCartin wrote that when unions
became dependent solely on Democrats to prioritize their needs, this made it
difficult to sell their policies to the public. This ruined their image with
the average American voter. Labor and politics don't mix and this will be the
"We have to get militant with employers to get what
we want for our union brothers. There's no shortcuts to get our demands in the
workplace. And that's how we will get it done!" – James P. Hoffa
shortcuts to get are demands in the workplace. And that's
how it will get it done!" --James P. Hoffa