Major Win for Unions in a Supreme Court Split

Unions Win Fee Victory as Supreme Court Ties 4-4

by Adam Liptak, New York Times

A case that seemed poised to deal a major blow to public unions ended in a 4-4 tie on Tuesday at the Supreme Court, effectively delivering a big victory to the unions.

When the case was argued in January, the court’s conservative majority seemed ready to say that forcing public workers to support unions they had declined to join violates the First Amendment.

But the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February changed the balance of power in the case, which was brought by California public schoolteachers who chose not to join unions and objected to paying for the unions’ collective bargaining activities on their behalf.

A ruling in the teachers’ favor would have affected millions of government workers and weakened public-sector unions, which stood to lose fees from both workers who objected to the positions the unions take and those who simply chose not to join while benefiting from the unions’ efforts on their behalf.

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Under California law, public employees who choose not to join unions must pay a “fair share service fee,” also known as an “agency fee,” typically equivalent to members’ dues. The fees, the law says, are meant to pay for collective bargaining activities, including “the cost of lobbying activities.” More than 20 states have similar laws.

Government workers who are not members of unions have long been able to obtain refunds for the political activities of unions like campaign spending. The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, asked whether such workers must continue to pay for any union activities, including negotiating for better wages and benefits. A majority of the justices seemed inclined to say no.

Relying on a 1977 Supreme Court precedent, the appeals court in the case upheld the requirement that the objecting teachers pay fees. Tuesday’s announcement, saying only that “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court,” affirmed that ruling and set no new precedent.

View the Complete Details on The California Teachers Association Fact Sheet >>

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Union Built PC and CWA District 3

A Meeting of the Minds and A Mission

 

At the Request of CWA District 3 VP Richard F. Honeycutt, Union Built PC was honored to present their new district-wide and locally customizable grievance application at the District 3 Meeting in Daytona Beach Florida on March 22nd.

CWA-communication-workers-of-america-logoThe Grievance Manager Application was custom designed to District 3’s specifications, which includes one-click escalation from local to district control, and customizable email and text alerts at both district and local level. This system also allows for convenient, secure access to all grievances and arbitrations and documents from anywhere an internet connection is available.

Pete Marchese, Director of Operations and Barry Diederich, Director of Software addressed the Local Officers and took them through the operation of their Grievance Manager Application. Union Built PC could not help but notice the District 3 Mission Statement:

“Our Mission is to work together as a Team to build our Union.

We will develop and execute specific action plans, including education and open communication to all Locals in an effort to further build trust.”

… And its similarity to the Union Built PC Mission Statement:

“Helping Unions Excel in Everything they do”

There is no doubt in our minds that we will succeed in our mutual missions and that the Union Team at Union Built PC has provided CWA District 3 with the tools necessary to accomplish this and more.

Union Built PC would like to thank District 3 VP Richard F. Honeycutt, Assistant to VP Nick Hawkins and retired Assistant to the VP Don Larotunda for allowing us to provide them with our Grievance Manager Application.

We would also like to thank District 2-13 VP Ed Mooney for allowing us to build District 2-13s Grievance Manager. Union Built PC now has Grievance Manager tracking grievances and arbitration in real time in District 2-13, District 3 and in select Locals in District 1, CWA.

Click Here to Download the Grievance Manager Brochure or Request a Free Demo

Attention NJ Transit Commuters: Resources to Navigate the Rail Strike

About 105,000 people rely on NJ TRANSIT every day and railroad officials are already warning that if the strike happens, their contingency plan will only be able to accommodate around 40,000 commuters.

NJ TRANSIT RESOURCE CENTER: How To Get Around If NJ TRANSIT Shuts Down

Commuters are hoping today’s in-person negotiations could be the difference that will ensure their trains will keep running.

“We will not be able to provide the level of service or capacity that our rail service currently provides to our customers,” NJ TRANSIT Interim Exec. Director Dennis Martin said.

RELATED: NJ TRANSIT Strike… The Clock is Springing Forward Fast

union-nj-transit-railworker-strikeOfficials plan to increase bus service, PATH trains light rail and ferry service, and to rely heavily on park and rides. Still, car traffic getting into Manhattan could be disastrous.

“It’s gonna be very disruptive a lot of people are gonna be stranded,” a commuter said.

Some New Jersey towns have come up with their own contingency plans, intending to have Jitney vans shuttle residents to Newark so they can take PATH trains to the city.

“We don’t have enough Jitney capacity to handle our own residents so we’re going to limited to that and proof of residency will be required,” said one town administrator.

The strike deadline is midnight Saturday, March 12. If the strike happens, NJ TRANSIT plans to gradually scale down service starting on Sunday.

Union leaders said the major issues that divide the two sides — wage increases, workers’ health care payments and contract length — are still on the table. Both sides said progress was made Tuesday.

In regard to healthcare, union workers are protesting NJ TRANSIT’s demands for workers to put up 20 percent of their healthcare costs.

Martin questioned how the raise would be paid for at a board meeting on Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“The structure of the settlement and the amount of the settlement will determine how we have to fund it,” Martin said.

When asked about raising fares to cover the costs, Martin said he “can not rule out” the possibility.

The unions have been operating without a new contract or raise since 2011.

Union Built PC and many of our team members are based in NY Metro. We have seen commuter-impacted strikes before and it is no laughing matter. We want to encourage you to plan ahead. If you’re a commuter who may be impacted by the strike click here for resources to navigate the NJ Transit strike.

NJ TRANSIT Strike… The Clock is Springing Forward Fast

The clock is ticking towards a possible NJ TRANSIT strike on Sunday, as contract negotiations between the organization and its unions are set to resume this morning.

The strike deadline is midnight Saturday, March 12. If the strike happens, NJ TRANSIT plans to gradually scale down service starting on Sunday.

fair contracct

Thursday afternoon, NJ TRANSIT negotiator Gary Dellaverson said no announcement of a deal was imminent.

“If there’s a shutdown, it will be terrible. It will be very inconvenient,” said NJ TRANSIT negotiator Gary Dellaverson said Thursday morning. “The discussions between us and the unions have continued, there’s nothing of value to report.”

RESOURCE FOR COMMUTERS: How To Get Around If NJ TRANSIT Shuts Down

After a day off from talks, leaders representing the 11 rail unions met with NJ TRANSIT officials face to face at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Newark for another round of talks.

“I don’t have anything very exciting to say,” Dellaverson said. “What we did this morning, for the last few hours, has been to continue to be precise with one another… as to the areas where there still remain differences between us.”

As talks commenced around 10 a.m., both sides expressed a desire to come to an agreement to avoid a potential strike.

“Whether it’s a today issue or a tonight issue or a Sunday morning issue, that’s just a game I don’t want to play,” Dellaverson said.

Rail union spokesperson Steve Burkert remained cautiously optimistic.

“We’re always hopeful that’s why we’re sitting, talking,” he said.

Dellaverson stressed the importance of keeping the discussions cordial.

“When you feel pressured, bad things happen,” Dellaverson said. “So I think trying to avoid that within reasonable measure is one of the things that we’re trying to do.”

Union Built PC and many of our team members are based in NY Metro. We have seen commuter-impacted strikes before and it is no laughing matter. We want to encourage you to plan ahead. If you’re a commuter who may be impacted by the strike click here for resources to navigate the NJ Transit strike.