An article I recently contributed to The Federalist web site (see the link below) attempts to separate fact from fiction regarding government union officials in the U.S. and how they operate. The article focuses primarily on the issues considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. Quinn, a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won case in which a High Court majority acknowledged that its 37-year-old precedent upholding the constitutionality of public-sector forced dues and fees is “questionable,” but opted to leave it in place for now.
One common myth propagated by government (and private-sector) Big Labor officials is that they “only” want to force union nonmembers who are subject to union monopoly bargaining to pay for activities that “benefit” them.
During the Harris v. Quinn hearing in January, however, Justice Sam Alito (who ultimately wrote the majority opinion) explicitly asked whether or not union nonmembers should be forced to bankroll union activities that HARM them. Union lawyer Paul Smith, representing Big Labor Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn as well as Service Employees International Union bosses, answered with an unambiguous “yes”:
At one point in the oral arguments, Justice Samuel Alito cited the example of a “young employee” who is “not very much concerned at this point about pensions,” but “realizes there’s a certain pot of money, and it’s either going to go for pensions or it’s going to go for salary at the present time.” Alito went on to ask Smith:
So that employee who’s not a member of the union has to pay for the union to bargain with the–the State to achieve something that’s contrary to that person’s interest. But you say that person is a free rider.
Smith’s response: “Yes, your Honor. . . .”