Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin that public sector employees represented by a union are no longer required to pay the “fair share” fees that help keep these unions afloat. Make no mistake: while the supporters of this ruling claim that it was intended to protect the First Amendment rights of public sector employees, it is the just another act in a decades-long, nationwide campaign to weaken unions perpetrated by the same multinational corporations, big banks, and billionaires who built fortunes while the American middle class fell apart.
By weakening public-sector unions, which include firefighters’, teachers’ and nurses’ unions, this ruling will help drive down public-sector wages and benefits, something that will inevitably spill over into the private sector. It will thus worsen the three primary issues I have heard about consistently on the campaign trail: stagnant and declining wages, ever-rising healthcare costs, and a rising sense of insecurity and anxiety about the future. At a key inflection point for the U.S. economy, when Americans are deeply worried whether automation will threaten our way of life or if they will be able to send their kid to college, we need more security and representation, not less.
President Trump and Congressman Marino centered both of their campaigns around the little guy: they said that once they got to Washington, they would be the ones to finally stand up for the American worker and fight back. But, as happens all too often, once they got to D.C., they betrayed us: Neil Gorsuch, the justice nominated by President Trump and who was backed by the same dark money groups that have bankrolled this anti-union campaign, gave the deciding vote in today’s case. Congressman Marino, as well all know, is not only in the pockets of big business, but also the opioid industry, helping to protect the same drug that is killing his constituents in the street.
Today’s ruling is not only about the forces killing America’s economy: it is also about the corruption of American politics that allowed it to happen in the first place. The only question is: What are we going to do about it?