John Ransom

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a hat tip to common sense, decided yesterday that nonunion members can opt out of union fees that are targeted towards political purposes.
“Labor unions must give nonmember workers ‘fresh notice’ of unplanned increases in fees or assessments -- money that might be used for political purposes -- the Supreme Court ruled Thursday,” according to CNN.

For labor unions around the country, it serves as a painful reminder that when they decided to go all-in for Obama in 2008, they alienated the rest of us non-government, non-union members- the 99 Percent- who have to go out and earn our keep every day. And that alienation is being felt in political defeats by unions around the country.  

“The 7-2 decision is a victory for Dianne Knox,” says CNN, “a California state employee, who sought to opt out of a $12 million assessment imposed by the Service Employees International Union Local 1000. She did not belong to SEIU, unlike most of her fellow government workers.”

The SEIU was imposing fees on nonunion members in order to build a war chest to defeat several ballot measures in California.

“There is no justification for the SEIU’s failure...,” wrote Justice Alito for the majority. “[The law] rests on the principle that nonmembers should not be required to fund a union’s political and ideological projects unless they choose to do so after having ‘a fair opportunity’ to assess the impact of paying for nonchargeable union activities.”

In addition, Alito found that the SEIU’s collection practices violated the First Amendment saying that nonunion members have a right to opt out of political activity. By contrast “no constitutional right of the union is violated because it has no constitutional right to receive any payment [editor’s emphasis] from those employees.”

I’m wondering if the unions are starting to regret their investment in Obama.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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