Bill Blum | Truthdig | January 13, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (Jim Mone / AP)
You know that public employee unions are in dire legal straits when their best chance for survival may rest with the Supreme Court’s most volatile, cranky and impulsive conservative: Antonin Gregory Scalia. Yet, according to some very sophisticated, progressive court watchers, that is the exactly the situation in the latest assault on public union operations, in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA).
Argued before the justices Monday, Friedrichs concerns the right of unions to collect limited “fair-share” fees from nonmember employees in lieu of full formal dues to help defray the costs of collective bargaining.
By any yardstick, the case packs blockbuster potential, both legally and politically. A decision against the 325,000-member teachers association could harm every government employee union in the country, draining their coffers and conceivably sending some into bankruptcy. In the process, the nation’s entire public sector would become one uniform right-to-work jurisdiction.