The Trib Takes a Side on Harris v. Quinn

by Dave Schuler on January 22, 2014

The editors of the Chicago Tribune take a side on Harris v. Quinn, presently being heard before the Supreme Court:

Requiring workers to pay dues to a union they reject, the court said pointedly in a 2012 decision, is an “anomaly.” It’s clear that most of the justices have doubts about the constitutionality of forcing people to support an organization with which they disagree.

It’s obviously good for unions to get dues from 100 percent of workers they represent even if only a 51 percent majority voted for the union. It may even be good for the 51 percent. But the question of whether it’s good for the workers who would opt out is an important one. Especially in a situation such as this.

Pamela Harris cares for her son. She doesn’t believe she needs union representation to do that. Obviously she can think for herself. The state should let her.

I have fewer problems with a “closed shop”, the essence of the case, than I do with the union dues of public employees being recycled into political contributions which I think is inevitably corrupt. Either home health workers should be an open “shop” or the unions that represent them without their express consent should be barred from making political contributions. Note that AFSCME and the SEIU are #2 and #10, respectively, on the on the list of all-time largest political contributors.

And I don’t limit that to unions. I find political contributions by organizations representing healthcare providers or insurance companies troubling as well under present circumstances. However, they’re far down on the list (AMA #24, American Hospital Association #42, ADA #47, AFLAC #51, etc.).

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