Collective Bargaining Under Attack in Federal Court
A new case is expanding on Trump's Janus to destroy unions exclusive right to bargain
Following the Janus decision, anti-union groups are figuring out the next round of cases to file to weaken public sector unions. In Minnesota, they have filed a case challenging a union's exclusive bargaining right.
In a union workplace, every employee in the bargaining unit is covered under a single collective bargaining agreement, whether you are in the union or not. This contract lays out things like a wage scale, hours of work, benefits and a grievance procedure.
Kathleen Uradnik, a political science professor, at St. Cloud State, doesn’t like this procedure. She has now filed a case in federal court claiming that her First Amendment rights are being violated because she is represented in bargaining by a union that she does not agree with. Her lawsuit is seeking to get rid of the unions exclusive right to bargain a CBA for their bargaining unit. Her case is being supported by the Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank that advocates against unions and for things like school vouchers and charter schools. They are part of the Koch-Brother backed State Policy Network.
In response to the new lawsuit, the St. Cloud union Inter Faculty Organization said:
It is a direct attack on our shared values and collective voice. United, we are powerful advocates — and our solidarity threatens the national anti-labor organizations behind these attacks. Our members know that a strong faculty union is vital to the success of our students and communities. In the face of these attacks, we stand united and will continue our mission of providing an extraordinary education that is accessible and affordable for all.
Uradnik’s case still needs to make its way through the federal court system before it reaches the Supreme Court. However, conservatives are hoping that this case, along with a series of other cases seeking back union dues and challenging a union policy that forces members to opt out if they want to not pay union dues, will further weaken public sector unions and their political power.