Dealing a major blow to public sector labor unions, conservatives on the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that it is unconstitutional for public employee unions to require non-union workers to pay fees that go toward collective bargaining.
According to the Washington Post, the 5-4 decision “overturned a 40-year-old precedent and said that compelling such fees was a violation of workers’ free speech rights.”
“It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, joining Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch.
Those who are pro-labor were quick to point out the adverse effects the ruling would have on labor unions and the working class.
“Unions will always be the most effective force and vehicle to propel working people into the middle class. Despite this unprecedented and nefarious political attack—designed to further rig the rules against working people—nothing changes the fact that America needs unions now more than ever,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Many feel that anything that weakens labor unions will disproportionately affect black workers.