For many years, one of the most reliable sources of money for the Democratic party was government workers’ unions. But that suffered a major blow last summer with the landmark Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME. The Court ruled that it’s a violation of the First Amendment to force non-union government employees to make dues-type payments to a union that uses them to help elect political candidates that the workers don’t support. Since that ruling, tens of thousands of workers have stopped paying fees to the unions, substantially reducing the amount that union bosses have to spend on electing Democrats.
But when that much money is at stake, someone will always come up with a sneaky way to get around the rules. One such plan is being laid right now in Oregon, with hopes that if they get away with it there, it can be spread to other liberal states.
Under this plan, instead of forcing workers to pay unions directly, the state or local government would divert some money from their pay into a slush fund that would go to the union. As the story at the link explains, instead of paying a worker, say, $50,000 and making him give $1000 to the union, the pay for that job would be reduced to $49,000 and the other $1000 would go directly into the union fund.
There are a lot of problems with this: legal, logistical and (I’m sure this is the least of its creators’ concerns) ethical. Workers would still, in effect, be seeing what should have been their pay go to political causes they might not support. Plus, politicians would be giving money to unions that would use the money to reelect the politicians. When they negotiate contracts, government would represent both labor and management (and nobody would be representing taxpayers. Or Republicans.)
You can read more about this shifty grift at the link. With all the effort that went into concocting this scheme to evade the SCOTUS ruling and the First Amendment, I wonder if anyone ever spent five minutes considering the best way to get workers to want to join a union: represent their interests instead of the Democratic Party’s.