Alito and the expected pretzel

First, for any newcomers, a primer on my view of public government sector unions:

-I am staunchly pro-labor. At the same time, I oppose the existence of the state. A look at how workers have been treated by governments over time, and how regularly states back up capital in several ways, disproves the commonly peddled idea that the two are a contradiction.

-That said, there are some things that workers currently defined as government employees do that would not — indeed could not, on basic reality grounds — simply go *poof*. To oppose the government school is not to oppose education or educators, and trash disposal would still be necessary, for examples. To the extent an actual service is provided that is not predicated on force & intimidation, that would be sought out voluntarily in a post-state society, I’m with them on that.

-Much of the rage currently directed at government sector organizing that fits the above criteria (that is, NOT COP UNIONS) is based on a misreading of the total labor landscape: private sector labor power got thoroughly crushed first.

Why this is relevant is because today the ruling in Harris v Quinn came out from, from… what’s that group of people in the robes in the fancy building with a huge security zone around it called again? Right, the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

On principle I agree, no one should be able to force you to contribute to a cause you oppose. Yet there is a sleight of hand in how they describe what’s going on. See, the union is required to represent and bargain for non-members whether they pay or not, thanks to the organizing system imposed by the government. So what is portrayed as a matter of conscience and freedom of association is instead the mandating of a free rider problem. Why is it not the case that one can, if they for some reason oppose the union, cease dues paying while the union ceases the activity for them that the dues paying funds? Why is it not seen as equally injurious to free association to force providing free benefits?

Try to imagine if there were a law that said 7-11 had to give out free slurpies to people who prefer other convenience stores. Or free lottery tickets to people that opposed gambling. Ridiculous, no?

Such is the logic of the state. The most reasonable answer is never an option.

Couple other things about this:

-Curiously, the group that won was made up mostly of people taking care of relatives using Medicaid funds. How that even counts for the purpose of this question as being employed by the state, I have no idea, ask Governor Quinn.

-The following, from the article, could be used for a different type of argument:

The workers argue they are not government employees capable of being unionized in the traditional sense. They are different, they say, because they work in people’s homes, not on government property, and are not supervised by other state employees. (emphasis mine)

Cops barge into peoples homes, enter (violate) private property, and their conduct is evaluated (and generally excused) by other cops. Hmm…

-Remember that this model of organizing labor — the bureaucratic form and the emphasis on traditional politics — is itself constructed by the ruling class. Now they think even that is too much. Time to throw out the rulebook.

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About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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One Response to Alito and the expected pretzel

  1. Pingback: The logic of being required to pay union dues | Phil Ebersole's Blog

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