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Could The Death Of Justice Scalia Mean A Positive U.S. Supreme Court Ruling For Organized Labor In The Friedrichs V. California Teachers Case?

CSEA President Danny Donohue Of New York State Says, In Part: “We Need To Use This Time We Have To Redouble Our Efforts To Build A Union That Will Withstand Their Attacks And Defend The Wages, Benefits And Rights We’ve Achieved

Published Monday, February 15, 2016
by Labor News Wire Services & WNYLT Staff

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia due to a heart attack over the weekend, could this mean a positive and upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling for Organized Labor in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case – a decision that would impact more than five million Workers in 23 States and Washington, D.C.

Apparently the Associated Press thinks so. 

In a story (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_WHAT_NOW_QA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-02-15-04-51-48) published today (Monday, February 15th), the AP stated:

How does Scalia's death affect specific cases? - It deprives Conservatives of a key vote and probably will derail some anticipated Conservative victories in major Supreme Court cases, including one in which Labor Unions appeared headed for a big defeat.  Next month's Supreme Court clash over contraceptives, religious liberty and President Barack Obama's Health Care Law also now seems more likely to favor the Obama Administration.

Unions have suffered a string of defeats at the Supreme Court. Is that likely to change? - Yes, at least in the short term.  Many of the cases involving Organized Labor were decided on 5-4 votes, with the Conservative Justices lining up against the Unions and the Liberal Justices in support.  The pending case seemed like more of the same.  Public Sector Labor Unions had been bracing for a stinging defeat in a lawsuit over whether they can collect fees from Government Workers who choose not to join the Union.  The case affects more than five million workers in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and seeks to overturn a nearly 40-year-old Supreme Court decision.  Now, what seemed like a certain 5-4 split, with the Conservatives in the majority and the Liberals in dissent, instead looks like a tie that would be resolved in favor of the Unions, because they won in the lower courts.

However, here in New York State, Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) President Danny Donohue - whose Union represents 300,000 Public Employees across New York, issued the following statement following news of Justice Scalia’s passing:

On behalf of CSEA Members across New York, I offer my condolences to the family of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

With Justice Scalia’s passing, I know that some will be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief on the Friedrichs case and think we can go back to business as usual.

That would be a huge mistake.

In CSEA, We Never Quit!

The pundits and legal experts are suggesting that we are now unlikely to see a decision that strikes down Agency/Fair Share Fees this term.

While this is good news, what it really means is that we have a bit more time to change our Union and prepare for the battles ahead.

This case is far from over.

It will either be a no decision or pushed into the next term of the Supreme Court.

From the beginning, we have said that our efforts to engage CSEA Members more deeply in the Union is not about any one Supreme Court case.

We are facing a consistent, sustained and escalating attack on Wages, Benefits and Rights of Working People.

The forces that are attacking Workers and Unions have been at this for decades.

They will not stop.

We need to use this time we have to redouble our efforts to build a Union that will withstand their attacks, engage Members in re-imagining our Union, defend the Wages, Benefits and Rights we’ve achieved - together, build the strength to raise standards for Working Families, and elect a president who will stand with us in the face of the attacks to come.

Now is not the time to rest.

Now is the time to own your Union and raise your voice for fairness and justice for yourselves, and your families, friends and neighbors.

I urge all CSEA Members to get involved in the Union, join an outreach team in your Local or Unit, become a Steward, become an Advocate by talking with your Co-Workers about the challenges we still face.

CSEA will never quit in our fight for fairness in our workplaces and our communities.

All of us have a responsibility to act.

Now is the time to fight on.

 

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