More than 20 states take a stand for unions!

New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman believes in the value of public employee unions. That’s why he is leading a coalition of more than 20 states and getting them to add their support for the “fair share” fees that keep those unions operating.

Schneiderman and the other AGs have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers Association. That’s the latest anti-union case to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it poses a serious threat to our public unions.

As we’ve explained during previous legal challenges, those fair-share fees allow unions to collect partial dues from non-members who work in a union shop, to cover the cost of negotiations that the unions are legally required to do on their behalf.

Attorney General Schneiderman said, “The right to organize is a fundamental right for American workers. Unions go hand-in-hand with a strong middle class.” And, he’s exactly right. Hopefully, the Supreme Court Justices are listening.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 2 weeks ago

The "laissez" in "laissez faire" is not /lah-zay/, it's /lay-say/.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 2 weeks ago

If Republicans, who worry a lot about words, are going to freak out about the words "socialist" because it's been in the names of some totalitarian countries, then they should also freak out about the word "republic".

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
People's Republic of China,
Republic of Iraq (under Saddam),
Republic of Libya (under Qaddafi).

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 2 weeks ago

I'd like to suggest that onereason why Bernie may poll artificially low among likely primary voters is that much of his support comes from outside the Democratic Party. Unfortunately this makes the polling prediction more accurate. Unless Bernie supporters register as Democrats, they won't be able to help him win. I believe that such reregistration would accomplish much of the Sanders revolution; it would change the party to be more populist and less corporatist.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 2 weeks ago

Mathboy #2 - They will never have heard of The Republic, dialogues by Plato I am quite sure

If so they would surely know about democracy wouldn't they?

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 2 weeks ago

So just so I understand, AG Eric S. wants to take union dues from non union workers who do want or need the unions service. WTF. If the unions are so great why do they have to force the employer to collect the dues. I would think in a free country it would be the employees choice.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 2 weeks ago

I hpoe the supreme court justices are listening. Some of the conservative justices may actually have a little common sense. Perhaps a justice will say "If a person is getting something from someone else, souldn't they be giving somthing in return? The obvious answer is yes. In this case the person, the non-union worker, is getting something, which is representation from someone else, which is the union, resulting in the person also getting benefits and higher wages than they would recieve without union representation in the workplace. So, The person should be giving something in return, namely, union dues". If the person does not want to pay dues for the union representation and the consequintal higher wages and benefits, the person may quit the union represented job and then will be free to seek another job where there is no union representation.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 2 weeks ago

Kend, you know how it is, when people can get something for nothing, especially a low wage worker, they might not be able to resist the temptation. Anyway, how is being "forced" to pay for services you receive incompatible with your idea of a "free society"? "Free society" doesn't countenance theft, in your understanding, I presume. Nor does it mean everything is "free", i.e., "at no charge", I also presume.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 2 weeks ago

Here in Illinois we have a new Republican governor who has a new trick. He wants to give "Right to Work" home rule so that individual counties and communities can adopt it and race each other to the bottom. He's also holding the budget hostage so he can get it in a "compromise".

gmeale's picture
gmeale 7 years 2 weeks ago

I question how safe it is to assume that members of the govenment much less the Supreme Court actually do desire " a stong middle class".

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 1 week ago

Mark you are assuming that the union can negotiate better for me than I can. If I am a much better, harder worker than the average I will probably be able to do much better on my own. Of course if I am a lazy unproductive employee sign me up for the union

With that said, if my employees what to get together and form a union and negotiate as a whole, that is fine with me. But why does it become the employers responsibility to collect the dues. That is just wrong.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, that is nonsense. Is that why undocumented workers are so highly paid? They work like the dickens but you business people take full advantage of them and pay them as little as you can get away with paying them.
You just want to talk about "individual merits" of a worker so you can divide them and break up their unity because you know that's where their negotiating power lies.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, don't you ever hire professional negotiators, lawyers and such? Well, a union will provide you, a poor, lowly schmuck laborer or blue collar worker just trying to make it on his labor and back work, with all that. And yes, when you are just a poor laborer a professional will negotiate for you much better than you can and, much more importantly, even if your union was very poor and couldn't afford lawyers and professionals you are much better off with a union, uniting with your coworkers and bargaining collectively. Otherwise, the power imbalance between a single, individual, poor, lowly laborer and a giant corporation, or even so smaller business, is much too great for you to ever be able to negotiate a free, fair deal with them by yourself.
And it's THAT that you business people are afraid of, you don't want to pay your people a fair percentage of the profits - and that's NOT the least you can get away with paying them!

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 1 week ago

Hartmann's post is about public service unions. Aren't public service unions for government employees? So my neighbor, who may be a government employee, is allowed to negotiate a pay raise that I, a taxpayer, will have to pay. What ever happened to one person one vote? This stupid proposal in effect gives union members more power than tax payers who pay public employees salaries.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Ou812, you're fulla shit and you damn well know it. That doesn't follow at all. It's one of those business talking point frauds to get you, another poor laborer or blue collar worker, to think of yourself as an "employer" as a taxpayer. I guess that makes you feel rich, if just for a moment, when you should be thinking of yourself as their fellow worker and when you screw them - or vote to have them screwed - you're screwing yourself. Just another bogus strategy of division to undermine the unity - and thus the political power and bargaining power - of workers to get them to think of themselves as employers when they're just poor working schmucks like their "employees".
Your logic is a completely laughably absurd attempt at your right wing fraud. It is undemocratic for public employees' unions to be denied their right to associate and represent themselves and bargain collectively. This superstition you try to get people to adopt that because they are public employees that is somehow nefarious is just anti labor horse shit sham.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 1 week ago

Unions are a business. They offer a service. Employees can vote them in or out. Republicans want to screw with them while at the same time, they're calling for less government interference in our lives. So which is it?

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 1 week ago

Mark I am a Canadian, we don't have undocumented workers. We put people that are here illegally in handcuffs and send them home like every country in world does except the US. All of my employees are on some type of commission so the better the company does the better they do. I said I have no problem with unions but I don't believe I should have to collect their dues for them.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 1 week ago

Saulys, calm down and tell me what part of what I said is wrong. Public employees work for the taxpayer. I'm a taxpayer, public employees are working for me (and other taxpayers). "It's impossible to bargin collectively with the government "--George Meany, former president AFL-CIO.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 1 week ago

Unions should be mandatory in any company with 50 or more employees.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 1 week ago

Attacking Public Employee Unions is just another distraction brought to you by the Fascist Party. That way the continuing extreme concentration of wealth can proceed with sly discretion. Their god damn free trade laws already broke most of our private sector unions. If you're anti union, you're anti democracy.

Why no discussion about the billions in tax money going to non union private sector companies, and sub contractors....aren't they working for all of us too? I feel like I have no say in how much a freaking bomb costs....if I wanted one to begin with. Like I said, the Fascists have already broke most of the private sector unions with free trade and they're pissed that almost all Public Employee Unions support they simply want to figure out how to break those unions too.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, that is another incredibly out of touch statement you have made. Canada has MANY, MANY undocumented workers. I knew many personally who had done it for years. One was an American who simply wandered across the border and got a job and nobody ever asked him if he was legally allowed to work, even after they heard him pronounce "out".
But there are MANY undocumented immigrants in Canada and it is, in fact, one of the easiest countries to sneak into and stay in or simply overstay your visa. It is, in fact, very lax on immigration as its population is very sparse it just is not a great priority. I heard a thorough CBC report on it about 10 years ago
As for "every other country in the world" Western Europe has a MASSIVE population of undocumented immigrants and it is, in fact, why their cities are currently so overcrowded. Just like in the United States, undocumented immigrant labor is tolerated by the governments because the business community so covets it because the undocumented are so easily exploitable. It's a massive racket in trafficking.
I recommend a movie called "Dirty Pretty Things" - not what the title seems to imply so don't get all hot thinking about it - that illustrates the issue of undocumented immigration and labor in Europe. I spent 9 years organizing undocumented workers in Chicago and I can tell you it's a good illustration of the issue of undocumented immigration and labor, not only in Europe where the movie is set but also North America and everywhere.
Illegal immigration and labor is an issue everywhere, not only in the developed world. South Africa has many undocumented Angolan immigrant laborers, for example - if I have the exact nations involved right, I'm quoting from memory what I read but my example is definitely of the region.
That your employees are on commission is a good arrangement - if the commission is fair. I don't think union/management adverserialism is the ideal but more employee owned businesses. It's all about fair percentage of the profits and employee ownership, a little like commissions, are a great motivator. The model works very well, it can be amazing how motivations change when vested interests change.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Ou812, that Sherk article is from the OPINION pages of the NYT. He's a right wing hack from the Heritage Foundation who first published his article in the Daily Signal and other right wing rags.
That is suspect enough and I don't trust his recounting of Meany's words without a big twisting but, even so, why do you think that we lefties think George Meany - or, for that matter FDR - walked on water? Because it might work for another one of your ploys?
George Meany was against affirmative action and supported racist, discriminatory practices - which is in large part why African-Americans were long suspicious of the labor movement. He supported the Viet Nam war effort and was hardly the most progressive (don't forget, although the labor movement was initiated by lefties they were purged from it in the McCarthy era), in fact, quite the Archie Bunker, blue collar conservative. He was not a hero of lefties. Rather, he represented the selling out of the labor movement after McCarthyist purges and the NLRB.
FDR, heroic as he was, wasn't Jesus either. He refused to bomb the railheads to the concentration death camps or even to accept Jewish refugees. He had said, "America is a Christian, Protestant nation and Jews and Catholics are here under sufferance.". He had Japanese-Americans interred and so on.
You know, we once believed the Earth was flat and the Sherk article contains nothing but the same bogus arguments I vociferously refuted in my earlier post, just bogus, twisted logic. That not the voters themselves but their elected representatives are negotiating with public employees, that Sherk thinks is so significant, is an irrelevance. Since when do we live in a direct democracy and I, for one, would not vote for someone adversarial to public employees. If I'm an employer I'm not a rogue scoundrel or exploiter.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, WTF? There virtually are no working people, people who work for someone else rather than own a business, who wouldn't rather join a union just as there are none who wouldn't rather have better pay and conditions of work and fair, decent treatment on the job. They only exist in the right wing PR imagination.
It's like the righty Obama Care argument, essentially, "But what if people don't WANT better, more affordable health insurance?"

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 1 week ago

Mark I know lots of guys that would rather work work out side of the Union. If you are really good at what you do you will always want to work piece work. You make way more. Yes we have illegal workers in Canada the difference is if you get caught in Canada they deport you. Look Mark like I said have your unions just don't make me collect the dues.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, how does it harm you to collect the dues?

PhilfromOhio's picture
PhilfromOhio 7 years 1 week ago

Ok Ken D. , maybe the solution is to not obligate unions to represent those who don't pay their membership fees. But, I guess the big bad government does not give them that option, does it. This is called 'stacking the deck'. Maybe, on principle, you should refuse to withhold taxes or SS contributions also, and so on. Step out there and be a man (or whatever).

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 1 week ago

Kend, that's utter nonsense. You think a poor laborer is going to negogiate a better contract with a big corporation by their lonesome than collectively and, perhaps, with professional negotiators? If you do you're crazy, that laborer wouldn't have a snowball's chance in Hell. They'd pay him as little as they could get away with paying him, they'd make him work at breakneck speed like he was one of their machines that never get tired and while he's working with his hands they'd tie a broom to his left leg and a dustpan to his right leg and make him sweep with his feet. They'd never give him a bathroom break and save money and increase production output by removing all the safety guards from the machinery. And if you don't think they would take a look one day at the conditions undocumented workers have to work under - and THAT is why you are against unions, because YOU and your cronies want to be able to do all of that as employers.
Undocumented workers are tolerated - and exploited - in Canada like everywhere else, I've known many personally. You live in Fairyland if you think everything is on the up and up in your country any more than any other.
A highly skilled professional might think they don't need a union but even they eventually realize they do. The doctors have the AMA, musicians, ballplayers all have their unions. Even business people have their "associations" for the simple reason that they realize that unity is strength.
You just don't want workers to have power - so you and your cronies can take advantage of them.

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