Economist: Unions will have to get less political in wake of Janus Decision
Economic policy expert Stephen Moore weighed in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 27 Janus Decision, which frees public sector employees from the obligation to join unions and pay dues. He says unions are about to get a lot less political as the First Amendment becomes a prominent argument.
“Not only do you have the right to associate with a group, but you also have the fundamental constitutional right as an American not to associate with a group that you don’t want to associate with,” Moore said.
Moore serves as chief economist for the Heritage Foundation, founded the Club for Growth, and sat on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Speaking with Greg Tomlin, subbing on the Dori Monson Show, Moore stated that even though the ruling concerns the choice to not be part of a group, it “is really about the right of association” found in the First Amendment.
Furthermore, forcing an employee to pay money that will then be used to promote certain political goals that the employee may not agree with is forced political speech, Moore said.
“That’s forced speech — I think the court was right that that’s a clearly unconstitutional thing,” he said.
He pointed out that not every union member is a Democrat, yet nearly all of the political candidates supported by unions are on the liberal end of the spectrum.
“I am not anti-union; unions have an important place in America, especially in our history,” Moore said. “But I am against a union forcing someone to join, and that’s what is no longer going to be allowed.”
In Michigan and Wisconsin, which enacted laws similar to the Janus Decision, about 30 percent of public sector union employees dropped out over the first five years of the law, according to Moore.
“The unions will still live on,” Moore said, but he does believe that “they’re going to have to show the workers they’re providing them real benefits for the money they take out of their paycheck.”
In Moore’s eyes, what he sees as the unions’ “left-wing drift” in recent years has only served to hurt the organizations.
“I think that what the unions are going to have to do is really concentrate on what the unions are supposed to do — collectively bargain, provide their workers with good contracts that the workers want, and do less political activity, because that’s really not central with what unions are in business to do,” he said.