So, we now have the US Supreme Court telling public sector unions that they can’t force employees to pay dues because those dues are used for speech that the employee has no say in or actively opposes. Some are calling this the death of unions, which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing. I’m hoping it will force a change in how unions operate.
I think public sector unions need to be abolished or substantially overhauled. There’s a governor on private sector unions in as much that if they have to balance the firm’s survival with their demands. Management has to balance the unions’ demands with the survival of the firm. Neither can force a third party with violence to support both the survival of the firm and the unions’ demands.
However, I can also understand wanting to band together to prevent management from forcing bad pay and working conditions. I also understand how the government, in its role as an employer, may want to have one negotiation covering as many employees as possible instead of hundreds or thousands of individual employment contracts. So, how to address all of these competing concerns?
My solution would be forcing a wall between the union’s bargaining activities and its political activities. I’m thinking how the NRA must separate out its political activities (by way of the NRA-ILA) and its educational activities. The bargaining fund could only be used for bargaining activities with management, and not be used for political donations or speech. A fee per employee could be assessed because each employee is using the union services for that bargaining. Any other service that the union would provide (health care, pension, grievances) should be through non-compelled membership. If union leadership wants to ask for political donations to support candidates, then those donations should be in a specific political fund for those activities.
There is a union at the day job. I don’t want to join it both because I dislike how they handle employee-management relations as well as just disliking public sector unions in concept. I’d be more willing to pay a fee for bargaining if I knew that it wasn’t going to be used to pay for speech that I strongly oppose or advocate for employees that really need to leave government service.
Maybe this ruling will force the changes I want to see.