12

Freedom of Speech is a Wonderful Thing to the Shock of our Bishops

For these reasons, States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employ­ ees. Under Illinois law, if a public-sector collective-bargaining agreement includes an agency-fee provision and the union certifies to the employer the amount of the fee, that amount is automatically deducted from the non­ member’s wages. §315/6(e). No form of employee consents required.
This procedure violates the First Amendment and can­not continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other pay­ment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’swages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed.

Justice Samuel Alito, majority decision, JANUS v.AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE,COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, ET AL

It will not surprise faithful readers of this blog to learn that the USCCB was on the side of Unions coercing dues from unwillling employees.  Go here to read about it.

One of the highly watched cases of the Supreme Court’s current session, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, has sparked such passion that some 73 interested parties have filed amicus briefs in the matter. Among the most unusual is a brief by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urging the court to rule against Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who claims that a law requiring him to pay AFSCME an “agency” fee violates his rights. In an unusual move, a prominent bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, has publicly disavowed the conference’s position, arguing that no consensus exists among Catholics regarding an issue “on which reasonable people can disagree.” Several Catholic scholars have also contested the bishops’ arguments, especially the prelates’ startling suggestion that a ruling for Janus would “marginalize” the church’s voice on public-policy debates in the same way that the Court’s decisions on abortion and same-sex marriage have done. The Court heard arguments in Janus on February 26 and will issue a ruling before the end of its term in June.

A social worker, Janus has sued to overturn a state law requiring him to pay AFSCME a fee to represent him, even though he had declined to join the union. He has asked the court to reverse a 1977 decision, Abood v. Detroit Federation of Teachers, which upheld state laws that give government unions the right to collect fees from nonmembers in a workplace where collective bargaining is in place. Janus contends that the activities of a government union, including collective bargaining, are political by their very nature, and that the union fee compels him to finance ideas with which he disagrees. If Janus prevails, it would likely mean the institution of right-to-work laws—prohibiting labor unions and employers from making union membership a condition of employment—across the public sector in the United States.

The bishops’ brief begins by citing the Catholic Church’s longstanding “commitment to protect both the poor and vulnerable from exploitation.” Unions, the brief observes, accomplish those aims by defending worker rights. In America, the church has a long history of supporting private labor unions, especially those composed of immigrant Catholic workers, such as the nineteenth-century Knights of Labor. At a time when many within the Church feared unions as “secret societies,” Baltimore Cardinal James Gibbons, a staunch supporter of the Knights, is thought to have persuaded the Vatican that unions could be instrumental in Church efforts to help the poor. Pope Leo XIII subsequently defended unions in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. “To enter into a ‘society’ of this kind is the natural right of man,” he maintained.

The Janus case, however, applies only to public-sector unions. Janus’s fundamental argument is that, unlike dues paid by a worker to a private union to support bargaining between laborers and an employer, the fees that he must pay “subsidize AFSCME’s efforts to compel the State of Illinois to bend to the union’s will.” That makes the act of collective bargaining political in nature, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito observed in Knox v. SEIU: “[A] public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences.”

The bishops justify their interest in Janus by contending that the lawsuit is somehow meant to “lay the foundation” for extending right-to-work nationally to private-sector unions—a dubious claim for which the brief offers no legal rationale. Bradley Lewis, a political philosopher at the Catholic University of America, observes that while the bishops’ brief “cites many passages in classic [social] encyclicals . . . none of them refer to public-sector unions nor do they concern mandatory agency fees.”

What seems like the bishops’ effort to bend over backward to support AFSCME rankles critics like Bishop Paprocki because government unions are among the most socially liberal labor organizations, using their considerable resources—generated by compelled dues—to fight against the church on issues that have little to do with representing workers. “I don’t know specifically what Janus’ objections are regarding the union’s political work, but the public-sector union supports abortion and donates to Planned Parenthood,” Paprocki has said. In 2014, the union gave $400,000 to the organization’s PAC, which works to elect pro-abortion candidates.

The USCCB can always be relied upon to view the Catholic Church in the US as the Democrat Party at prayer.

 

 

15

The Bishops and the Public Employee Unions

 

 

 

The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, August 16, 1937

 

 

When it comes to protecting the consciences of Catholic workers or the political power of public employee unions, always on the political left, for our hapless bishops it is no contest:

 

One of the highly watched cases of the Supreme Court’s current session, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, has sparked such passion that some 73 interested parties have filed amicus briefs in the matter. Among the most unusual is a brief by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urging the court to rule against Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who claims that a law requiring him to pay AFSCME an “agency” fee violates his rights. In an unusual move, a prominent bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, has publicly disavowed the conference’s position, arguing that no consensus exists among Catholics regarding an issue “on which reasonable people can disagree.” Several Catholic scholars have also contested the bishops’ arguments, especially the prelates’ startling suggestion that a ruling for Janus would “marginalize” the church’s voice on public-policy debates in the same way that the Court’s decisions on abortion and same-sex marriage have done. The Court heard arguments in Janus on February 26 and will issue a ruling before the end of its term in June.

A social worker, Janus has sued to overturn a state law requiring him to pay AFSCME a fee to represent him, even though he had declined to join the union. He has asked the court to reverse a 1977 decision, Abood v. Detroit Federation of Teachers, which upheld state laws that give government unions the right to collect fees from nonmembers in a workplace where collective bargaining is in place. Janus contends that the activities of a government union, including collective bargaining, are political by their very nature, and that the union fee compels him to finance ideas with which he disagrees. If Janus prevails, it would likely mean the institution of right-to-work laws—prohibiting labor unions and employers from making union membership a condition of employment—across the public sector in the United States.

The bishops’ brief begins by citing the Catholic Church’s longstanding “commitment to protect both the poor and vulnerable from exploitation.” Unions, the brief observes, accomplish those aims by defending worker rights. In America, the church has a long history of supporting private labor unions, especially those composed of immigrant Catholic workers, such as the nineteenth-century Knights of Labor. At a time when many within the Church feared unions as “secret societies,” Baltimore Cardinal James Gibbons, a staunch supporter of the Knights, is thought to have persuaded the Vatican that unions could be instrumental in Church efforts to help the poor. Pope Leo XIII subsequently defended unions in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. “To enter into a ‘society’ of this kind is the natural right of man,” he maintained.

The Janus case, however, applies only to public-sector unions. Janus’s fundamental argument is that, unlike dues paid by a worker to a private union to support bargaining between laborers and an employer, the fees that he must pay “subsidize AFSCME’s efforts to compel the State of Illinois to bend to the union’s will.” That makes the act of collective bargaining political in nature, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito observed in Knox v. SEIU: “[A] public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences.”

The bishops justify their interest in Janus by contending that the lawsuit is somehow meant to “lay the foundation” for extending right-to-work nationally to private-sector unions—a dubious claim for which the brief offers no legal rationale. Bradley Lewis, a political philosopher at the Catholic University of America, observes that while the bishops’ brief “cites many passages in classic [social] encyclicals . . . none of them refer to public-sector unions nor do they concern mandatory agency fees.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  The public employee unions and the Democrats have had a scam going on for decades, since John F. Kennedy legalized them at the Federal level with executive order 10988 on January 17, 1962.   The unions provide the money to elect Democrats.  The Democrats pay back the unions  by enacting sweetheart contracts with the unions regarding pensions and health benefits that can only end in bankruptcy for the states.   However that would be down the road.  Now we are down that road and the unions and the Democrats wish this madness to continue and our bishops are fully on board, even though the Unions place in power politicians completely opposed to Church teaching on abortion and gay marriage, things that the Bishops are supposed to care about.  Like many of the laity, most of the bishops are Democrats first and Catholics second.

5

Thieves

As the father of an autistic son who my wife and I love more than our lives, and who we will be caring for during the rest of our lives, I have one word to describe the activities of the Service Employees International Union as detailed in the following story from the Washington Examiner:  Despicable.

 

If you’re a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children,  you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.

 

Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers. For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family’s monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU. Continue Reading

12

Void ab Initio

 

As I am sure most of you know, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision vacated the order of Judge Maryann Sumi enjoining the bill passed by the Wisconsin legislature regarding public employee unions.  The court divided along partisan lines.  The bluntness of the majority opinion is something to behold.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all orders and judgments of the Dane County Circuit Court in Case No. 2011CV1244 are vacated and declared to be void ab initio.  State ex rel. Nader v. Circuit Court for Dane Cnty., No. 2004AP2559-W, unpublished order (Wis. S. Ct. Sept. 30, 2004) (wherein this court vacated the prior orders of the circuit court in the same case). 

Declaring the orders of a trial court void ab initio is an unusual step for an appellate court.  It basically says that the trial court completely misconstrued the relevant law from the beginning, and is not to be trusted by the appellate court simply reversing the trial court and remanding the case back to the trial court.  Instead the Supreme Court ruled on all of  the issues in the case itself, with Judge Sumi now tossed out of the case by the action of the Supreme Court.  

This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature.  It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides:  “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.”  Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part:  “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published.  (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”

You don’t get blunter than that in the law.  Judge Sumi is held by the Court to have usurped the power of the legislature!

The Court then notes that what Judge Sumi attempted to do, enjoin publication of a bill in order to prevent it from becoming law, was in direct defiance of a prior case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Continue Reading

8

Public Employee Unions Explained

 

Now, there is a good deal of evidence in favor of the opinion that many of these societies are in the hands of secret leaders, and are managed on principles ill-according with Christianity and the public well-being; and that they do their utmost to get within their grasp the whole field of labor, and force working men either to join them or to starve. Under these circumstances Christian working men must do one of two things: either join associations in which their religion will be exposed to peril, or form associations among themselves and unite their forces so as to shake off courageously the yoke of so unrighteous and intolerable an oppression. No one who does not wish to expose man’s chief good to extreme risk will for a moment hesitate to say that the second alternative should by all means be adopted.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum

 

 

 

Klavan on the Culture, you are correct!  Public employee unions, by funding Democrats and providing election workers, effectively were able largely to write their own compensation packages, taxpayer be hanged.  It was a decades long merry party at the expense of the public, and many states are on the verge of bankruptcy as a result.  The battle over public employee unions is just the opening round in a huge political fight across the nation as the states, which are unable to simply print money as the federal government does, desperately grapple with looming fiscal insolvency.  Change is coming as change often does:  brought about by onrushing reality. Continue Reading

18

The Battle of Wisconsin

Last November the people of Wisconsin went to the polls and elected Republican Scott Walker governor and gave the Republicans a majority in both chambers of the state legislature.  Scott Walker, mirabile dictu, is actually delivering on what he promised to do in the campaign:

The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.

In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.

Republican leaders said they expected Wisconsin residents would be pleased with the savings the bill would achieve — $30 million by July 1 and $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

“I think the taxpayers will support this idea,” Fitzgerald said.

Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights. But when voters elected Walker, an outspoken conservative, along with GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, it set the stage for a dramatic reversal of the state’s labor history.

Under Walker’s plan, state employees’ share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent.

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass. Continue Reading