Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 25, 2018 


President Trump scraps planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Also on our Friday rundown: California lawmakers support and emergency hotline for foster kids; and boating is a booming business in states like Minnesota.

Daily Newscasts

Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Devastate Public Employee Unions

Labor unions are closely watching new Justice Neil Gorsuch as the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could severely weaken public employee unions. (kconnors/morguefile).
Labor unions are closely watching new Justice Neil Gorsuch as the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could severely weaken public employee unions. (kconnors/morguefile).
February 26, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A case that could deal a massive financial blow to public employee unions goes before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.

The case is called Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The question is whether states have the right to allow public employee unions to charge nonmembers fair share agency fees.

Brian Lee, executive director of the Nevada State Education Association is in Washington to attend the oral arguments Monday.

He says people who exercise their right not to join a union still benefit from the labor agreements the union negotiates, so it's only fair that they contribute.

"The issue here is whether or not the unions must work for free for members who choose not to pay, and whether the states have the state right to structure how they want to interact with their public employees," Lee explains

Nevada and 27 other states have passed laws prohibiting fair share agency fees, which apply to all types of unions. This case could make them illegal nationwide for public employee unions.

Conservative groups argue that no one should be required to contribute to a public employee union that may take political positions with which the person doesn't agree.

However, agency fees, which are typically 50 to 70 percent of the fee to join, cannot by law be used to pay for political advocacy or union elections.

Lee says the case could muffle the voices of teachers nationwide.

"What they will be doing is silencing the ability of teachers to advocate for the best working conditions, for classrooms that have adequate supplies, better student-teacher ratios and for safer and less crowded schools," he points out.

Fair share agency fees for public service unions were legalized in the 1970s in the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case case.

That case was challenged last year in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which ended up with a 4-4 tie after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving the fees in place.

Now all eyes will be on conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump. A decision is expected by June.


Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV