WCBS Newsradio (audio) – NY Assemblyman Gottfried has plan to circumvent SCOTUS union dues ruling

(Audio in link) – July 5, 2018

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS News/AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued last week will make it more difficult for unions to collect dues from people who do not want to pay.

Now, a New York state lawmaker has a plan to circumvent the decision.

“I think this is about fundamental fairness,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

Gottfried thinks the court’s ruling was designed to destroy unions, so he is proposing a legislative fix.

“Public employers, as part of collective bargaining with public employee union, should pay for the costs of operating the unions,” he said.

If public union dues do not pay public union fees, critics wonder if the government would pay those bills.

“It probably wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything,” he said.

Gottfried suspects the money would come from worker wages.

Late last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that such payments, often called “fair-share fees,” clash with individual rights. The fees violate “the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern,” the majority wrote in its decision in the case, Janus v. AFSCME.

The ruling stems from a case involving an Illinois state government employee who objected to paying collective bargaining fees to a union they chose not to join.

The court’s conservative justices ruled the fees are a violation of an employee’s constitutional free speech rights.

But the court’s four liberal justices worry public sector unions will lose a crucial source of financial support.

The decision, which was widely expected, is likely to devastate funding for public sector unions, including those representing teachers, police officers and municipal workers.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)