Are “agency fees” not political?

 Roberta Gold, AAUP UW

Sudhir’s view jibes with everything I’ve read: SCOTUS mavens think Scalia’s death will create a hung Court in Friedrichs, which will, in turn, leave in place the 9th Circuit’s union-friendly decision.

Further, the issue in Friedrichs is agency fees for _non_ political activity (e.g., bargaining for better pay), not — as Steve seems to think —  union spending on political candidates or causes.

Regarding the other part of Steve’s post: how much say the rank-and-file has over an international’s stance on various issues (including business- versus social movement unionism, and, if the latter, which social movements to support) will differ from one union to the next.  Such say-so is known in labor circles as “internal union democracy.”  Its degree depends on the international’s charter, among other things, and I don’t know how democratic or undemocratic SEIU’s is.  That is certainly something that potential SEIU members would be interested in learning.

In the UAW, the BDS issue is actually sparking a conflict over internal democracy.  As I understand things: The UC graduate students’ local (Local 2865) resolved to call on the international to divest from companies profiting from the Occupation.  Obviously this would have been a nonbinding resolution.  Some dissident 2865 members appealed to the International’s executive board, which acknowledged that the resolution had been passed democratically, and with a high turnout, but nonetheless decided to nullify it.  Local 2865 then called for expressions of solidarity, which is where the UW local chimed in.

So, the parties disagree over the local’s autonomy to speak on this matter.  This kind of dispute is hardly unique to unions.  It can be found in many bodies that claim to be representative in some manner.


0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. theaveeditor #

    WADR Roberta,

    You Uion stand is that the issue in Friedrichs is agency feesare used for for “_non_ political activity (e.g., bargaining for better pay)” but this is exactly wat si at issue.

    Unions,like corporations have PACs. As one example Bernie Sanders (who, I support) has MORE PAC support than does Hillary .. in his case the PACs are largely Union supported. The unions claim that LEGALLY they are OK doing this because of Citizens United!

    In fact both the Kochs and Bernie’s unions play a game.a In the case of the SEIU many union resources can, by decisions of their elected boards, support candidates and causes by nominations , use iof union organizers to get out the vote, etc.

    Finally, I keep asking if the $5,000,000 of dues that the SEIU international wants from the UW (out of the $6.000.000 total) is negotiable?