During the week we return to school from February Recess, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME case, which seeks to destroy public sector unions by eliminating mandatory fees (agency fees) for collective bargaining. Just to be clear, in 1977, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that so-called "agency fees" were Constitutional (Abood v Detroit BOE). In the Abood case, the Court ruled that union members in the public sector have the right to opt out of paying for the union's political action by dropping their union membership; however, since everyone in the workplace gains from collective bargaining, those who drop their membership must still pay a fee to the union for all the benefits they receive from their contract.
Mark Janus, a home healthcare worker from Illinois, is claiming that all the actions of the union, from contract benefits to defending members accused of wrong doing, are political in nature, and, therefore, he should not be forced to pay mandatory fees to support political actions he does not believe in.
Although it is undeniable that unions and union leadership tend to lean towards the political left, I would simply ask the PFT membership to look at our almost fifty-page contract and answer the following questions:
Are the pay raises you receive liberal or conservative?
Are sick days liberal or conservative?
Is paying only 20% for health insurance liberal or conservative?
Is bereavement leave liberal or conservative?