Janus Decision and the Political Economy of The Gilded Age.

In a wake of Supreme Court decision in Janus, according to an article by  Illinois Economic Policy Institute titled AFTER JANUS: THE IMPENDING EFFECTS ON PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS FROM A DECISION AGAINST FAIR SHARE: Public-sector unions could lose between a 10th and a third of their members, as more workers decide to become free riders, enjoying raises, pensions, and other benefits unions win through collective bargaining without having to bear any of the cost of those negotiations. The article further state that, over time, as more workers decline to pay fees, the remaining members will be forced to pay more, and unions will have to provide fewer services and may become weaker. The lost dues from non-union members will cause unions to experience unpleasant transition costs and may require unions to make adjustments in order to attract and retain members. Also, In total, a Janus decision against fair share fees would be expected to reduce the annual labor income of state and local government employees by $16.8 billion over time across the United States [id]

Justice Elena Kaganin in her dissent wrote: “The majority overthrows a decision entrenched in this nation’s law — and in its economic life — for over 40 years.” Consequently, not only that Americans workers have already experienced the negative effect of the income gap exacerbated by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but also will bear the burden of Janus decision which reflects a product of the wealthy preferences consequential outcomes referenced by Bartel in his book  Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Eroding unions power to bargain for prevailing wages, coupled with non-responsiveness to lower income brackets voters-contributes to economic inequality disparities-,. subsequently, in Janus decision, the court erodes procedures of peaceful collective activity central to workplace law that has been in place since passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, and it weakens efforts to secure fair treatment at a time of soaring economic inequality. Essential evidence, histories perspective, observations, and analyses, evidence that moves to weaken unions point to the Republican Party. In order to advance a political agenda, on May 25, 2018, President Donald Trump signed three executive orders aim to reduce the time it takes to fire poor-performing federal employees and overhaul federal employees union rights, including cuts to official time. In retrospective, this executive order was written as a pretext to weaken unions, it created a culture of fear within the federal government service sectors. If they are unfairly fired, workers lose their ability to challenge unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory firings, also this order makes it harder for those employees to hide adverse employment information when seeking re-employment at another agency. In an article by Nicole Ogrysko Employment attorneys see more proposed firings, fewer settlements under VA Accountability Act, VA recently clarified its disciplinary data, which the department posts publicly on its website every two weeks. The latest statistics now include the number of employees who have been removed during their one-year probationary periods. [Emphasis provided]. It’s a mistake to look at the Janus case and earlier litigation as isolated episodes giving that Liberty Justice Center, which represents Mark Janus,  received financing  from Richard Uihlein, an Illinois industrialist who has spent millions backing Republican candidates in recent years, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois. Exacting a major toll on Unions and Democrat, Mr. Uihlein has donated well over $1 million over the years to groups like the Federalist Society that work to orient the judiciary in a more conservative direction. Behind a Key Anti-Labor Case, a Web of Conservative Donors: Beyond this backdrop, conservatives are bringing lawsuits to retroactively recover fees collected by unions from nonmembers. This affirms Bartels analysis that the weight attached to constituents’ views in the policy-making process is allowed to depend upon those constituents’ politically relevant resources and behaviors –primarily upon their incomes, and secondarily upon a variety of other resources and behaviors that might mediate the relationship between income and political representation, including partisanship,

Correspondingly, according to the California Labor Federation, about 2.5 million public- and private-sector workers in California are union members,. whereas, unions have successfully advocated for laws granting overtime to farmworkers, making paid sick days mandatory and increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. California drop in public sector wages and salaries-will have consequences for state economies-government bodies which typically provide middle-class salaries for occupations such as teachers, childcare workers, counselors, social workers, corrections officers, police officers, firefighters, bus drivers, office clerks, and receptionists. Unquestionably, is fair to say, the partisan differences in income growth convey the fundamental significance of partisan politics in ameliorating economic inequality and as such, the word oligarchy should be synonymous with our current democracy.



Free Rider and Union Bargaining

Source: The Audiopedia Published on Nov 8, 2016

To guard against the effect of Janus decision, California has formulated few legislations that will:

  • Giving union members “release time” from their jobs so they can recruit other workers to join the union.
  • Shielding union members’ contact information from the public to make it harder for anti-union groups to reach them.
  • Allowing unions to charge nonmembers who use services such as arbitration or a labor representative to help them through a disciplinary process.