SCOTUS rules against SEIU in dispute over union fee hike
How will the ruling impact political spending by unions?
- Duration 7:34
- Date Jun 21, 2012
How will the ruling impact political spending by unions?
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Boxes -- now what's becoming a growing it nationwide battle over political spending the US Supreme Court handing down a ruling this morning against a powerful union.
In a dispute over dues being used for political causes.
It all stems from the -- out in California where state workers as in many states are forced to pay union dues even if they don't join the union.
Several of these folks sued the Service Employees International Union over money that was used their money individual's money.
For political ads and speech.
That the individual contributors did not agree with you know for example they exported they would support a budget Democrats -- these are Republicans or independents who didn't want -- money being used for that they were given the choice to opt out.
The court this morning siding with the workers saying unions must give non members a chance to opt out of paying for political issues they oppose.
-- now Simon Rosenberg who is president and founder of Indiana.
And he's also a former campaign advise -- President Clinton and -- since it was a fellow at the American enterprise institute and former speechwriter for president George W.
Guys thank you for being here so this.
Is actually something and one -- covering the court they they issued a big decision in this that that the will law has been established for a long time the unions can't do this.
You've got to give people the chance to opt out he can't just make me.
In order to work for the State's pay money to the state union the public employee union that -- that the union and gets to use in a political cause I -- not supporting it yet.
And so the SE -- US CI you've found a way around that mark.
And the US Supreme Court just said nice drive but no -- First they were defeated then there -- efforts to unseat Scott Walker.
Because he pushed through collective bargaining reforms and reforms that made ended compulsory union membership republic workers' unions which they oppose -- they would they lost that desperate terribly.
And now they've been rejected seven to two was even a close decision in the Supreme Court.
In this decision.
That they cannot compel people who choose not to join a union.
To subsidize their political activities I think it's a sign of the desperation of the unions.
That they even went to the Supreme Court to fight for the right to compel nonunion members to subsidize their political activities but the reason -- Is because union membership is declining across the country when Scott Walker and -- his reforms people left the unions in droves they Wisconsin federation of teachers has lost 6000 members in the last year.
Pass me the public sector worker union has lost 30000 members in the last year.
And did the same thing happen in Indiana when governor Mitch Daniels then after those kinds of reforms and so when you have fewer workers.
You have fewer people making voluntary contributions here you're stuck trying to compel people on the Supreme Court told them no you cannot compel.
Nonunion members against their will to support your campaign for the -- Simon to try to get around that earlier Supreme Court ruling by saying all it was a temporary assessment it was a special assessment it wasn't like the -- a year assessment as self.
And the use the non union members said special night -- -- If you -- I -- I get the right to -- so the Supreme Court says yes you do get the right to object I wanna talk about the broader political implications that mark suggests about.
What does this say about where it's going for the unions and -- -- fund raising cash.
-- it has been king for the unions and is there is there a downward decline happening right now for the unions and money.
Well the major reason that union membership is down in the states is because there's been you know almost a million public employees.
Laid off throughout the fifty states over during this course the recession there are substantial.
Union public employees and there were.
You know 23 years ago that's why the numbers on us -- because people leaving the union because of what mark just said is that in as you you know this whole thing.
Megan is that you know the -- the private sector has been in creating jobs one other big drags.
On the American economy in the last you know several years -- the incredibly rapid layoffs of firemen and teachers and policemen and other folks the state and local level.
And you know that's part of the reason union membership is down but look there's no doubt lets us be clear about this -- the campaign finance system is changing -- America.
The unions actually in today have more clout in many ways than they did before.
Because of the -- citizen's united decisions allows them to spend money directly on advertising campaigns.
In a way that will allow them to control there and out of their message more than before.
-- the same Howard's estate to corporations it it gets his opening -- -- in the same way that companies have more power now.
Yeah he's a more power to mark I want to ask you because there's and we -- last week or two weeks ago couple ballot initiatives that passed in these big cities in California.
That cut down on the power.
That the pensions that that in public sector and employees were to get upon retirement saying can't afford it you may not gonna get -- percent of your salary for a tour and now -- a ballot initiative California again.
That would prohibit the unions.
From using the money gathered from payroll deductions for political -- in other words forget making people object just can't do that anymore unions don't don't be pulling.
Dues -- out and using it on politics are we -- you know what.
A watershed moment here.
We're definitely seeing a trend and look the reason nine as even President Obama abandoned the talking -- of the five private -- doing fine Simon.
You know -- if -- public worker unemployment rate is four point 2% that's pretty good but the reason the unions are losing public support what people are leaving the unions because.
And why they're getting defeated in the ballot says as you point out -- Is because they're opposing common sense reforms in Wisconsin and quite frankly across the entire country most people contribute.
To their pensions and to their health care and they think it's actually normal for for public sector workers to -- were required to do the same thing.
You've also seeing -- things like for example senator Marco Rubio has this this raise acting did most people don't realize this.
But union contracts actually known only set a minimum wage for workers are set a maximum -- which means that companies actually can't pay bonuses to productive workers and -- -- -- trying to make it legal for people to pay those bonuses.
These are the kinds of things that are making people think that the unions are living in a different century.
And you know and so and that's why this the support is dropping.
-- -- -- to what extent have some of the extreme tactics of certain members of unions are -- people's front lawns and kids are scared all that hurt them.
It or is that inning is this the result -- the decline in some of the public sentiment against unions in an effective PR campaign.
By Republicans or has -- been a real shift in the way they behave in the value they they offer.
-- look clearly in the 1950s.
The third of all working people in America weren't union today.
That numbers about 11% right and 7% in the private.
Workforce -- there's been a sea change of -- and and America's relationship to.
Unions and I and I think that you know what's important though in -- all this is that.
The backdrop to this is during a period of twelve years where we've seen no wage and income growth in the United States.
Median income for every -- people has drops since 2001 at a very precipitous level it's gone -- -- back to 19931994.
Levels and I think that where the Republicans have to be danger could be careful.
If they just don't want to look like they're siding with Pluto credit interest and big corporations and their own.
And their own special interest against the interest of hacking people and so they've got to be.
Careful and threading the needle here to not overstep the and look like they're anti worker and anti American.
In this in this -- as well.
I I love the word democratic.
For patients credit is becoming president and I get Brian back and I'll use it again thank you very much for being Cambodia season -- -- --