Workers & Economic Inequality

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Should schoolteachers be required to pay for services of unions they haven’t joined?

The Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case that was heard before the Supreme Court last week carries the potential to mar the current public sector union model that has been in place for decades. A Deseret News article outlines Richard Kahlenberg's argument in favor of California Teachers Association which asserts that a universal funding of collective bargaining preserves democracy.

Kahlenberg argues that the court struck a “reasonable balance” in 1977, allowing objectors to opt out of politics but still contribute to bargaining. Allowing non-union members to opt out of collective bargaining costs, he argues, is much like allowing taxpayers to opt out of the portions of government policy they object to.

Read the full article from Deserset News.

Tags: union dues, public sector unions, labor unions, collective bargaining

Yesterday’s ‘Friedrichs’ Arguments Show Labor’s Difficulties in a Post-‘Citizens United’ World

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard extended arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. Writing on the proceedings of the day, TCF fellow Moshe Marvit discussed one point in particular that has made the case "pecular": an assumption within the court that money is speech.

According to the Court’s current First Amendment jurisprudence, money appears to be not only speech, but also the type of speech that deserves the highest form of protection. The problem with this view is that even if one assumes that money does represent some form of speech, it would represent among the most imprecise and inscrutable type of speech.

Read more of Marvit's takeaways from yesterday's extended arguments at In These Times.

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Previewing the State of the Union

Last week, The Century Foundation published a new report from Richard Kahlenberg that spelled out the case for preserving public sector unions, which was argued in the Supreme Court on Monday. Daily Kos ran a segment of the report in their "Abbreviated Pundit Roundup." The segment they ran is as follows:

With the Supreme Court split, unions cling to a thin hope that one of the conservative justices will resist partisan pressure to tilt the political playing field against Democrats. I hope they’re right. Unions aren’t faultless, but they are a crucial source of stability and strength for our democracy.

Check out the full Daily Kos article.

Tags: teachers unions, supreme court, public sector unions

Strong Unions, Strong Democracy

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg authored an opinion piece featured in the New York Times which expresses concern about the consequences of eliminating union fees and dues for those who dissent with the union. The piece explains how collective bargaining efforts among employees are largely supportive of the democratic livelihood that America is built upon. 

Unions serve as what Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard, calls “schools for democracy.” Being involved in workplace decisions and the give and take of collective bargaining, voting on union contracts and voting for union leadership are all important drivers of “democratic acculturation.”

Read Kahlenberg's NY Times opinion piece that lays out the ramifications of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

Tags: union organizing, union dues, supreme court, right to work, democracy

Is the Supreme Court about to take aim at teachers unions? And what happens if it does?

The Washington Post writer, Valerie Strauss, featured a portion of TCF's latest report on the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in an article about the future of public sector labor unions. Strauss cites the report's author Richard Kahlenberg, explaining that if the plaintiffs win, the ability of public sector unions to protect workers will be severely harmed.

"...the legal debate around the case has centered on the free speech rights of dissenting public employees vs. the state’s interests as an employer in keeping labor peace."

Check out the Washington Post article which features an excerpt from Kahlenberg's report.

Tags: supreme court, right to work, public sector unions, collective bargaining

AM950’s Podcasts: The Daily Report Hour 2 — November 3, 2015

TCF President Mark Zuckerman joined AM950 today to discuss the ways that technology can be used to help modern workers organize in the workplace. Listen to the full podcast below:


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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