Janus Victory This Week May Destroy Liberal Political Organizations

If the Supreme Court rules for Mark Janus and his Right to Work-led legal team, union financial support will become voluntary for millions of currently forced dues-paying public servants — and Big Labor will howl! Credit: Tom Kay, adapted by Jennifer Roberts/ NRTWC

‘Progressive Infrastructure’ Will ‘Crumble’?

Big Labor-Backed Political Activists Anxiously Await Janus Ruling

Soon after this Newsletter edition goes to press, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether government union bosses and politicians violate the First Amendment when they force a civil servant to bankroll a union he or she would never join voluntarily as a condition of employment.

To Mark Janus, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-assisted plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, and the many freedom-loving Americans who are following his case, it is, first and foremost, about individual freedom.

But to union bosses and the array of leftist activists and activist groups that they back with money coming out of their forced dues-stocked treasuries, it is, in the words of Big Labor-allied academic Joseph McMartin, a “dagger pointed at the heart” of government unions.

Union Officials’ Predictions About Janus Impact Belie Their Legal Arguments

Mark Mix, the president of both the Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee, commented:

“Four decades ago, when it first considered a Right to Work Foundation-backed challenge to the constitutionality of government-sector forced unionism, the Supreme Court tried to ‘split the baby’ with regard to civil servants’ First Amendment rights.

“Writing for the Court in 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Justice Potter Stewart declared that forcing public employees to bankroll, as a condition of employment, union advocacy on workplace matters with which they disagree is constitutional.

“But forcing such workers to bankroll union political advocacy regarding non-workplace matters isn’t constitutional, added the Justice.

“The faux distinction the Abood Court attempted to draw between constitutionally protected and unprotected speech was and remains illogical.

“And now union officials’ own claims about what will happen if the High Court overturns Abood and prohibits all government-sector forced union dues and fees, as Mark Janus and his Foundation and other attorneys are asking it to do, show even Big Labor doesn’t really think the Abood distinction is valid.

“Union officials’ predictions about what will happen if Mr. Janus prevails fly in the face of union lawyers’ court claims that the forced fees dissenting workers fork over to keep their jobs are completely unrelated to Big Labor political spending and lobbying.”

Leftist ‘Advocacy’ Groups Dependent on Forced Union Dues-Derived ‘Resources’

Mr. Mix cited the example of Naomi Walker, currently the assistant to Lee Saunders, president of the mammoth American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which is the parent of the respondent union in Janus.

Ms. Walker, who previously served in the Obama Administration as, in her own words, a “liaison between the [U.S.] Department of Labor and the [organized] labor movement,” has openly worried that Janus could undermine proponents of higher taxes and more government spending.

Writing for the far-left publication In These Times last spring, Ms. Walker emphatically stated that a Supreme Court victory for Mark Janus would have serious repercussions for a wide array of Big Government supporters:

“The progressive infrastructure in this country, from think tanks to advocacy organizations — which depends on the [forced dues-derived] resources and engagement of . . . unions — will crumble.”

The so-called “Democracy Alliance,” headed by Gara LaMarche, has invested roughly half-a-billion dollars into leftist politics since 2005. But this outfit’s political clout is dwarfed by that of Big Labor’s forced-dues machine. Credit: Chronicle of Philanthropy

Head of ‘the Left’s Secret Club’: Janus a Dire Threat To ‘Progressive Strength’

Mr. Mix noted that a number of radical political activists outside the Organized Labor hierarchy have publicly expressed similar fears about what will happen if the Supreme Court sides with Mark Janus.

Gara LaMarche, the president of the so-called “Democracy Alliance,” or DA, once aptly characterized as “the left’s secret club” in a Politico headline, has been especially outspoken.

Though the DA has relatively few members (or “partners,” as it calls them), it is a major force in support of hard-left politicians like U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

The reason is that DA partners include activist billionaires like George Soros, Donald Sussman, and Tom Steyer, as well as multi-millionaire trial lawyers like Amber Mostyn.

But Mr. LaMarche and other DA officers are fully aware of the fact that, despite all the wealth to which their organization has access, it can’t compete with the nationwide network of tens of thousands of paid union officials that Big Labor has at its disposal due to compulsory unionism.

This political army, according to Mr. LaMarche, has “for decades” been “a key pillar of [electoral] support for progressives.” At the same time, Big Labor’s vast, forced dues-stocked treasuries have been and are a “significant funder” of the “progressive infrastructure.”

Janus, he warns, targets the “top” source “of progressive strength” in the U.S.

All Janus Would Directly Do Is Make Government Sector Unionism Voluntary

“There’s no doubt,” commented Mr. Mix, “that union bosses depend on their government-granted forced-dues powers to maintain and extend their political influence and fund their ideological allies.

“If the Supreme Court agrees with Mark Janus when it issues its ruling on his case, governments at all levels will have to give their employees a choice about whether or not they pay union dues or fees.

“Union officials are mortified that a large share of the estimated five to six million public workers across the U.S. who are currently forced to bankroll a union as a job condition will cease paying for any union activities.

“It’s safe to assume Big Labor’s inordinate power over the American political system will be reined in substantially if government-sector unionism becomes voluntary in the roughly two dozen states where it is still compulsory today.

“But even if Janus goes as badly for AFSCME and other government union bosses as Naomi Walker fears, the fact is that Big Labor will continue to wield an array of legal privileges not enjoyed by any other special interest group.”

Monopoly Bargaining Itself Puts the Worker ‘Under Powerful Compulsion to Join’

“Most critically,” continued Mr. Mix, “Janus will leave in place federal and state statutes forcing private-sector and public-sector employees to accept the officers of one union as their monopoly-bargaining agents on workplace matters, including pay, benefits, and work rules.

“As then – AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Thomas Harris bluntly acknowledged back in 1962, even when they don’t have forced-dues power, union officials can use their monopoly-bargaining privileges to herd more workers under their control.

“‘The fact that the union will negotiate the contract which regulates the incidents of [a worker’s] industrial life puts him under powerful compulsion to join the union . . . ,’ Mr. Harris correctly observed.

Janus may, I hope and pray, terminate forced-dues extractions from public servants, but it cannot prohibit union monopoly bargaining in government workplaces.

“Along with ending forced union dues in the private sector, ending monopolistic government unionism is a fight that lies ahead for Right to Work Committee members. And both these fights are likely to be arduous.”

(source: June 2018 National Right to Work Newsletter)