A Long Overdue Reckoning on Public Unions

A Long Overdue Reckoning on Public Unions

The Supreme Court ruling striking down the power of public-sector unions to coerce dues payments from employees who are not union members has far reaching implications in states where such unions are large and powerful. Now non-union employees can—and almost certainly will—refuse to pay and if the National Labor Relations Board and Justice Department are on the ball, instances of intimidation against non-payers by union leadership or rank and file members will be dealt with quickly and harshly.

To be sure, it is not difficult to imagine that hardliners will resort to all sorts of devious and underhanded means to browbeat and frighten non-members, especially those who opt to resign their membership to avoid the dues payments.

Union revenue is sure to drop and it is likely that many disgruntled members who see the non-members not paying dues will leave the union, despite threats of reprisal, to avoid paying dues because the non-members are getting a “free ride”.

Weakening the stranglehold of public-sector unions over the public purse as well as public policy and reducing the power to dip into taxpayer wallets are all good things—and long overdue.

Pennsylvania–and other affected states—should take the next step and require unions to collect dues directly from members rather than through paycheck deductions by government entities. That forces public-sector employers to act as a taxing agent for the unions and use resources that have to be paid for with tax dollars.

Pennsylvania should also follow the lead of most of its neighbors and the overwhelming majority of states in outlawing teacher and transit-worker strikes.

And that raises an interesting question: Will public unions weakened by lower revenue and possibly membership counts be less prone to call strikes? One can hope.