A conservative Latino’s view on politics…
I was lucky enough to hear Mark Janus speak on his legal battle against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – Janus v. AFSCME. This was before the decision came down and he gave me hope. His courage to stand up for his First Amendment rights and against unions and their mob-style tactics was inspiring. His desire to end their legal extortion to enrich corrupt politicians and unethical causes shows how one individual can change the course of a country.
Janus v. AFSCME began in Illinois, but California’s the top employer of government employees, thus has the most to lose. Our various unions, including the powerful, California Teachers Association have been extorting tens of millions of dollars yearly. Every union was watching if the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) would follow precedent or correct the unjust decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977).
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association
The sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia gave unions a reprieve when Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association – a comparable case – ended in a 4-4 deadlock. The deadlock meant the lower court ruling for unions by the extreme left-wing Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would stand. Rebecca Friedrichs and nonunion members saw their First Amendment rights denied. However, the chickens have come home to roost in Janus v. AFSCME.
Janus v. AFSCME
Mark Janus, a simple, working-class, public-sector nonunion member, rightfully believed AFSCME, was extorting him by charging “agency” or “fair-share” fees for one purpose. To support political causes and politicians he didn’t agree with. AFSCME’s response? They fiercely stated, these fees went toward collective-bargaining rights and not political influence.
Fundamentally, the public-sector deals with government policy, budgets, and tax dollars. This makes every issue, including wage and contract negotiations, intrinsically political. Thus, the legal extortion by unions in the form of “agency-fees,” is an infringement on a public-sector employee’s First Amendment right – to not join in political speech he doesn’t agree with. In other words, his money shouldn’t go to politicians or causes he doesn’t agree with. The union disagreed, therefore Janus v. AFSCME.
The union’s defense was straightforward. They say collective-bargaining rights are separate from politics. They call nonunion members “free-riders” or “freeloaders” who don’t pay into their coffers, yet benefit from the union’s hard work. They state, these “agency” or “fair-share” fees, nonmembers pay are necessary to cover expenses and other costs that help bring “labor-peace.”
The data doesn’t support this. Especially when you examine unions in states that don’t allow “agency-fees” that show there’s no harm to “labor-peace.” Despite stating these fees aren’t used for political influence, during oral arguments, liberal favorite, Justice Anthony Kennedy got the AFSCME attorney to admit otherwise. The lawyer inferred, losing this case would lead to a loss of political influence – a deathblow of an admission.
Janus Slays Abood v. Detroit Board of Education
The die was cast with Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, so Janus v. AFSCME would charter the course of a nation and come from newly seated Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. Silent throughout the oral arguments, he added mystery to an already tense proceeding. Would he give back, the public-sector worker’s First Amendment rights, or have them forever usurped by immoral unions.
In a “YUGE” win for the people, SCOTUS properly realized being a “free-rider” doesn’t allow a union to overrule an individual’s First Amendment right. The data also didn’t support “agency-fees” as necessary for “labor-peace.” The 5-4 decision favoring Mark Janus corrected the unjust 1977 decision of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, ending the union’s 41-year tyrannical run of trampling public-sector worker’s First Amendment rights.
At one fell swoop, Janus brought the all-powerful, authoritarian unions to their knees. A savage blow to unions who use member monies to control politicians, pass unfair laws and benefits that taxpayers must pay. Let’s not forget, union leaders “living large,” at their member’s expense.
- The president of the American Federation of Teachers – $500,000 yearly.
- The National Education Association secretary-treasurer – $430,000 yearly.
This sets back the abusive power of roguish unions, including teacher unions. Unions that haven’t cared for children in decades. Children with abhorrent graduation rates. Graduates with horrendous reading and math levels. Bigger and more bloated administrative staff, and pensions that continue to grow beyond sustainability.
“Opt-In” Triumphs Over “Opt-Out”
One of the key decisions in Janus is the union’s dishonest “opt-out” process. Now, workers must “opt-in” before employers automatically take fees from their paychecks. Before Janus, workers were automatically “opt-in” and to “opt-out” unions made this as difficult as possible, including:
- specific time frames to “opt-out.”
- purposely forced to hunt down, hard-to-find hidden information and forms.
- harassment, bullying and alienating workers by unions because they want to “opt-out.”
Age-old unethical tactics used over and over! Employers, now, can no longer assume a worker will waive his or her First Amendment right. When a union has a worker’s money, they stop caring but now they must listen. SCOTUS, in its wisdom, recognized and corrected the fraud at the heart of “opt-out” procedures.
Unions Must Court Workers
What the mainstream media (MSM), Democrats, liberals, leftists and union representatives won’t tell you – the Janus decision does not impede a union’s ability to represent the worker. It forces them to earn a member’s support and trust. To bring financial accountability back – something not done in over 40 years.
They must now show, value to members, primarily how their fees benefit them. If successful, political influence will follow because a committed membership is an unwavering membership. Extorted money and corrupt laws can’t buy loyalty.
The data supports the Janus decision, as right-to-work states such as Nevada has higher unionization rates (12 percent) than the country (10.7 percent). Also, look no further than successful teacher strikes in right-to-work states such as West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona. If unions have the worker’s best interests in mind, they’ll succeed despite this ruling.
Janus ends public-sector union’s shady political influence in using “agency-fees” to buy depraved politicians and pass laws and benefits that destroy a system and are unsustainable. It ends the legal extortion of public-sector employee’s money and subjugation of First Amendment rights. It doesn’t end unions – it just tries to make honest entities out of them.
Like a Hollywood ending, it’s over, the good guys have overcome the system… or have they? Not so fast… union lobbyists have given us California SB-866, an end-around on the Janus decision and other states are following suit!
The Empire Strikes Back, SB-866
As a former liberal, I applaud the fight in Democrats. Their will, desire and take no prisoner mentality has destroyed the California Republican Party and individual rights. As always, Governor Jerry Brown and his legislative cronies, like Storm Troopers, bow down to their donor masters.
This time, to create and enforce California SB-866 – a preemptive strike against the Janus decision, it’s law and gives unions power over an employee’s ability to act for themselves. Fox & Hounds has a great breakdown but here’re their main points:
- Through the union, workers must ask to remove mandatory “agency-fees.”
- Unions control in telling the agencies who is and isn’t paying dues.
- Unions make employers responsible for worker’s claims.
- Employers cannot contact workers directly about union dues deductions.
- Employers cannot communicate with workers on their rights to join a union.
- Unions can and will limit public disclosure of orientation sessions.
SB-866 screams “BIG BROTHER” by controlling and allowing communication only from one group, unions, over another, the employer. True freedom gives the worker, the choice to choose, but California Democrats are giving unions, the right to take this choice away.
It’s dangerous to create a law, molded to allow unions to control and subjugate the worker. By minimizing contact with their employer, who can show them the path to freedom, SB-866 embodies an Orwellian, dystopian society – as big brother as it gets!
The fight over SB-866 is court-bound as employers and watchdog groups continue to battle corrupt unions over this atrocity of a law and others. Laws with one goal – to subjugate the worker.
Protests, Strikes, & Union Violence
When unions don’t get their way with employers, they use public protests, strikes, and violence to force higher wages and greater pensions. With workers who seek to opt-out, they’ll use loyal sheep. To harass, intimidate and even threaten physical force.
They simply don’t care if it’s an employer or worker who suffers a beatdown. They only care about enriching themselves. It’s the union way. While a tale for another day, California has a multitrillion-dollar pension day of reckoning coming. That’s when you’ll see the union it all its violent glory.
During oral arguments, an AFSCME lawyer implied if the ruling went against them, we should expect to see labor unrest. Let me break that down and repeat what I said, labor unrest = public protests, strikes, and violence. It’s the union way to get politicians to comply and give them what they want. In other words, the lawyer was implying, the price to pay for no union violence is the “agency-fee.” A scare-tactic SCOTUS saw through.
Sadly, a politician’s way is to give unions what they want at taxpayer expense because they’ll be long gone before the piper comes calling. A politician’s way to counter union threats of labor unrest while growing their own power.
The Battle’s Won, But the War Begins Anew
California teacher Rebecca Friedreich and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will go unheralded as Mark Janus is the man of the hour and a hero or villain. Janus deserves this, but we can’t understate how Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association showed us, after 41 years, the country was willing to correct a wrong. Rauner did get the Janus case rolling with the help of others. While this battle can be confusing and the legalese hard to follow, Friedrich’s case condensed it into an easy-to-understand fight which gave Janus v. AFSCME public momentum.
Janus v. AFSCME is merely one step in trying to break corrupt unions, leftists, liberals, and Democrats who have one goal in mind – subjugate the worker and citizens of this country for control and power. California SB-866 is just one law but the California Policy Center has cataloged many more.
Make no mistake, we’re in a war as every Democrat-controlled legislature has or will pass laws to get around this decision. Laws to eradicate the hardworking public-sector worker’s First Amendment rights. For now, savor the victory of Janus v. AFSCME.