A U.S. Supreme Court ruling may have dealt a major blow to labor unions across the country. But, does it have any impact in Florida?
Florida is what’s called a “right to work” state. That means employees cannot be forced to join or contribute money to any union representing them. That’s also what the U-S Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision Wednesday that will affect 22 non right-to-work states.
“This ruling is particularly troubling because essentially what it’s done is weaponized the First Amendment,” said Rich Templin.
Templin is with Florida’s AFL-CIO—which represents multiple unions across Florida made up of more than a million workers. That includes AFSCME, the union sued in the case.
Illinois state worker Mark Janus filed the suit against his union because he disagreed with its positions, felt it was too political, and didn’t feel it was right he be forced to pay dues to support something he didn’t believe in.
While the highest court’s decision doesn’t affect Florida directly, Templin says it’s still an attack on unions as a whole.
“Any organization that is a service-centered organization that relies on either dues or fees from the people who get those services…if any organization was told, ‘well, you know what? You now have to do that work for free.’ That’s devastating! It hurts workers. It hurts their abilities to form unions, and probably most pointedly, the reasons for this case, was to silence unions in the political process,” he added.
Still, others see the Janus v. AFSCME Ruling as a victory with a good reasoning behind the suit.
“It’d be like Wal-Mart compelling you to pay for something you may or may not have wanted to pay,” said Robert McClure. “Some choose to want to do that. But, some do not.”
McClure is with the free-market think tank James Madison Institute, which filed a friend of the court brief to the Janus case.
“Public sector unions have over the years have compelled to join the union to pay dues, and, one, previously to the Janus decision, did not have a choice in that decision,” he added. “And, unfortunately, many of those unions had begun to use those dollars for political work to fund campaigns, to bargain with politicians, and then, they would fund those same politician campaigns. We just feel like this was a victory for free speech.”
The James Madison Institute also helped launch a national awareness campaign called “My Pay My Say” surrounding the issue.
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