Proving The Court’s Point:

It’s buried right at the end of a rather biased article (the USCCB didn’t say anything; a committee chairman did) but this really jumped out at me:

Teachers’ unions could be “permanently crippled” by the decision, the journal Education Next reported, though the decision could provide an impetus for other changes.

A loss in teachers’ unions membership could result in a decline in revenues and ability to affect policy. The National Education Association has planned a 13 percent cut for its two-year budget, totaling about $50 million, with its estimated membership losses of 300,000 people, about 10 percent.

Means that yes, they were in fact using “agency fees” to lobby for political ends, not (as legally required) only for union services.

More to explorer


  1. I’m highly biased against unions– the one that tried to get established at my grandfather’s mill went strong-arm when they couldn’t find anybody in the area who DIDN’T like how the mill was run, and…rural area, lumberjacks, bad idea— and I frankly don’t care for monopolies.

    A monopoly where the producers are required to PAY for not being allowed to make the deals for their own labor. Yeah, I’d kinda prefer there not being a monopoly, especially a forced one, but….

  2. I’m not sure how much it will cost the Democrats as opposed to certain factions within the party. In California our own Willie Brown (speaking of the Vergara issue) commented that the Cal Democrats were getting tired of the Cal Teachers Association – not tired of their money, but of the dictation that came with it – and wouldn’t mind them getting taken down a peg, provided they could be innocent of the take-down. We might not see the Democrats lose power so much as shift back toward the center: more amenable to educational reform and choice and to defusing the public pension bomb.

  3. The Knights of Labor, the original AFL, and the CIO incorporated models of industrial relations which were better or worse adapted to particular sets of circumstances. The unions therein were never particularly adept at organizing service enterprises. As the share of employment attributable to industry declined, the union census declined with it. During the earlier stages of this process, union bosses persuaded Robert Wagner and John Kennedy to allow something Fiorello LaGuardia and Franklin Roosevelt had been loath to do: organize the public sector. The unions get inflated compensation for their members and Democratic pols get an army of contributors, volunteers, and touts. They supplement them with ngo functionaries fed on government grants. Yep, a racket, at the public’s expense.

    (Some of the subsectors which did have union penetration (shipping and transportation, laundries, hotels) had characteristics and histories which rendered them vulnerable to racketeering. The east coast Longshoremen, the Teamsters, and the Hotel and Restaurant Workers all had periods as subsidiaries of the Sicilianate mob and other gangsters (as did at least two construction unions). As far as I’m aware, the chain of custody from one generation of shady characters to their proteges in the International Longshoreman’s Association has been unbroken from 1927 to the present).

  4. One pervasive curio (there due to inertia, I think) has been the use of public agency as a delivery vehicle for primary and secondary schooling. Schooling is a fee-for-service activity which appears naturally on the open market; it’s not analogous to public works. You could address any distribuitonal concerns with voucher distribution conjoined to quality control through state regents’ examinations. We’ve only taken a few shuffles toward that goal, the chronic underperforming of the schools notwithstanding.

  5. Good article, Donald– especially since it came BEFORE the decision, so it avoids spin.

    Schools are an expensive pain in the….
    *cuts a homeschooling rant*

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