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MaineDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:26 PM
Original message
High court sides with union in Maine case
Source: Portland Press Herald/AP

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the right of a local public employees' union to force government workers who are not union members to pay a share of legal fees.

The ruling today in a case from Maine involves a small fraction of the fee that local affiliates pay to national unions for litigation that may not directly benefit the locals.

The Maine State Employees Union represents workers in contract negotiations with the state. The court has previously held that people who choose not to join the union still must pay fees to the union because they too are covered by collective bargaining.

Read more: http://news.mainetoday.com/updates/038638.html



The whiners have lost. Damn activist judges! It's a great ruling.
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RantinRavin Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. One thing you can always count on judges to do
is make sure the legal fees are paid.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. What you said. The actual basis of our legal system. n/t
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good.
I have been a union member working alongside the non union workers who are paid exactly the same and get exactly the same benefits and yet do not support (either financially or otherwise) the union. Not a good thing. Good ruling by the judge.
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Belial Donating Member (503 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. This is actually kind of scary.. when you look a the bigger picture
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pasto76 Donating Member (835 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. these are the statements repubs love to make
Why is it scary? Scary like minesweeping? IED hunting? What about standing by a live IED why looking around trying to figure out where the triggerman is and how do you defeat the radio receiver you can see?

Scary like that?????

And what bigger picture? are you being literal, is there a big framed painting you can see that I cant? This is the republican mantra "liberals want everything for free" - so if an employee is benefitting from someone negotiating with management and contribute zero point zero, thats OK? because it is a shot against the 7% unionization in this country, across all trades?

No, you're right. The judge should have ruled that every benefit and pay raise these individuals have received over the past 20 years, should be paid back in full, and then forfeited. Then they can all INDEPENDENTLY hire counsel and pursue getting them back!

Is that LESS scary? Or just a smaller picture?
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Belial Donating Member (503 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. No.. not scary for me like Panama, Kuwait and Iraq and a few
other places.. Nope.. I just don't like seeing money snatched out of peoples hands like this..
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. The workers are seeing all the benefits of union membership

Without being a member.

This is a fair and just ruling.
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Belial Donating Member (503 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. So do you think this would be fair and just in ALL scenarios similar
to this one? Not just Union - Non Union type issues? Where would you draw the line exactly?
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. This is nothing new.
When I worked for the State of Minnesota -- over 15 years ago -- I had a job with fixed pay levels (based on job level, length of service, etc) which were group-negotiated.

I had the choice of joining the union or paying 85% of the dues anyway, so I joined.

If not for the union's collective bargaining, I'd have made less.
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. what are you going on about? these employees are DIRECT
beneficiaries of very CONCRETE union services - why do you think this ruling is "scary?" Because "the union" is choosing how to spend that money? Don't you know that if these non-members joined, they too would have a voice and a vote in their union? They choose - for some unknown reason - not to belong to the union. Yet THEY object to how the union spends its' money?

The strength of a union lies in solidarity - not only within each local, but amongst and between unions at the local, state, and national level. That litigation that "does not directly benefit the local" is probably seeking a redress for an injustice that could affect ALL union members because an issue that affects one union can often be applied to all.

The Neocon RW has consistently sought to limit unions' strength in every possible way, including trying to limit their ability to use the legislative and judicial arenas. This was just another such attempt, and deserved to fail.

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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Absolutely......
They don't want the benefits, they should give them back - take pay cuts, decline the health and life insurance, like that.

This is a very good ruling.
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. They get the benefits of the union, and they can pay for it
It's about right wingers wanting everything for nothing. The union is forced to bargain for everybody and it makes no sense for union members to have to subsidize these freeloading assholes.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. The Actual Decision
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Turk 182 Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
10. court ruling
Before I retired I was a VP of an 850 member teachers union. All teachers in our district had the option to join or not, but those who did not join still paid what is called an "agency fee". Since they receive all the benefits that the union, as the official bargaining agent, negotiates for all teachers, and since the union is required to represent them in all grievances and legal actions having to do with their job, it is only right that they share the burden of cost with members. In New York,
any non-union member may request a return of his or her potion of their dues which does not go for official union activity such as running a dinner dance for retirees.
Also, all political contributions are strictly voluntary, and are not a part of the dues structure, so no member or non-member's money goes to candidates or Parties against their will.
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The Brethren Donating Member (853 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
12. I don't agree with this ruling
and I don't agree with anyone being forced to join a union if they don't want to.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. It's not about "joining"
It's about paying for what you get.

Others are now carrying the financial burden for those who aren't paying. That's unfair. This decision simply equalizes. The people who are now going to be paying dues do not have to join anything. But they do have to pay for what they get.

You can't walk into a store, take an item that looks good on you, and walk out without paying. This situation is no different.
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The Brethren Donating Member (853 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I would agree with you
if everyone who chose a job thought that having a union was a terrific idea with that job, including the employer and everyone agreed that there should even be a union involved with their job, salary, benefits, etc. and then chose not to share in the fees involved. I absolutely do not agree with any employer - no matter what size their company/business is and/or employee being forced in anyway with having to be involved with unions unless they choose to.

Problem is, in many cases not all employees and employers want anything to do with unions to begin with. I have worked since I was a teenager and NO one including the union carried my financial burden as a result of working. The only one who has carried that has been myself. Every job I have ever had has been directly between myself and my employer. And when I have needed to negotiate my wages/salaries and benefits, I have negotiated things for myself without any union involvement and I am glad for it.

I've never worked with a union before - and never will. And if I don't like a job because I don't think they're paying me enough, then it's my responsibility as an adult to keep the job as is or find one I like better. I have never worked with a union before, but I have seen what they have done to business owners locally, particularly smaller businesses, as well as having met union leaders. My opinion of unions in general in the USA has changed as a result and not for the better. That in addition to other factors regarding unions.

I'm also taking another look at the idea of any agency that involves taxpayers monies to pay city/state/federal payrolls and allowing unions to be involved.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I was lucky enough to grow up
in a house where my immigrant grandfather taught me about Eugene V. Debs and how important were the rights of the workers.

My mother and father were both union members, and I was taken by my mother to picket lines, where I sang with the lady garment workers about "looking for the union label."

I have worked as a corporate attorney, and I have negotiated with unions, trying to represent my client, management, to the best of my ability, which meant I had to try to take away as much as I could from the employees.

You're very fortunate that you've never had a job where your employer treated you unfairly and you couldn't afford to leave that job. You are a very lucky person to have been able to negotiate on your own and to take care of your needs by yourself, in a one-on-one with an employer. That's good, and I'm glad for you.

But, not everyone is as fortunate or as talented as you and there are many, many workers there who lack your sophistication and articulate way. They are not educated and have very little to offer in the way of marketable skills, so they really are at the mercy of their employers.

And that is when they need unions. Because, as my immigrant grandfather and my parents taught me, and as I learned while I did it myself, the boss will always try to take it all away from the worker. That is what unions are for, and I'll go to my grave defending them. I don't regret my time as a corporate attorney - far from it - but I saw what the sausage is made of, and it's not palatable.

I wish you luck and I hope your employment is always as productive and as simple as it's been thus far in your life. But, I would urge you to remember that not everyone is as gifted as you are, and there are those among us who need protection.

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Belial Donating Member (503 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. Never been in a union.. don't fault those that are..
If I didnt like what a job paid me.. I moved on... done that a few times and it still is working pretty good for me.
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mainegreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
19. Good. Daft otherwise really.
The shop votes union, you voted against it, but union won. Guess what? The shop is union. Suck it up or quit.

You don't get to refuse to obey laws because the political party you didn't vote for won. You either deal with it, or leave.

If they think there side is so good, then why haven't the workers voted to de-unionize, huh?
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S_B_Jackson Donating Member (564 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:43 PM
Response to Original message
20. Thank goodness....
that I live in a right to work state.
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ogneopasno Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
21. Excellent. Excellent ruling.
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