The Rio Grande Foundation was recently mentioned in a piece written by a government union employee. Aside from the usual baseless attacks, the author called the Janus v. AFSCME case which was just heard before the US Supreme Court an effort to “destroy unions in order to shift money from workers to billionaires.” You can read a Forbes piece about the arguments at the Supreme Court here.
The case would only apply to government labor unions which makes the AFSCME argument that it is “helping the little guy” more complicated. That’s because if government workers lose pay and power under “Right to Work” as is so often asserted by the unions, it is the taxpayers, not some mysterious group of millionaires and billionaires that benefits. It is, of course, an obvious truth that CEO’s and billionaires pay taxes and pay an even greater share of taxes than the rest of us, but this seems like a mighty indirect way for the Koch Brothers to squeeze a few extra bucks out of “the little guy.” They would benefit no more or less than any other business or group of taxpayers from a reduction in the cost of government.
What’s really happening? Politics. As the chart from the Open Secrets website below shows, AFSCME gives a lot of money and overwhelmingly gives it to Democrats. By AFSCME’s own logic, then, the Janus case is not about whether taxpayers are forced to pay government workers more or less, rather it is about politics and whether politicians friendly to unions or skeptical of them are elected to office around the country. Despite protestations to the contrary, they are admitting that “fair share” fees are “needed” to further the political mission of AFSCME which is to elect politicians that are friendly to government employee unions.
Government workers like Mark Janus don’t want to be forced to pay dues to a union that supports political causes with which they disagree. This is about government unions keeping those dollars flowing, albeit against the will of workers they supposedly “represent.”
One Reply to “Is Janus case about transferring wealth from workers (or just unions defending their political activity)?”
This is going to be entertaining! We can expect to hear that ending government-coerced contributions to unions will roll back the many gains unions have made (all of which took place nearly a century ago). We will be told that the 40-hour work week will end, children will toil in coal mines and AFSCME clerks will be assaulted by Koch-employed goons on the streets of Santa Fe. Break out the handkerchiefs and popcorn!