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March 29, 2016

Court Splits 4-4 on Key Union Case; Absent Scalia, Unions Will Continue Extracting Dues from California Teachers Who Object to Belonging to Union

The lower court found for the union, and it takes a majority to set aside that decision, so the decision will stand.

It could be that the court could revisit this later with a majority of conservatives, but that seems to be a more and more unlikely proposition.

The vacancy helped the liberals this time. The deadlocked vote came in a case that considered whether unions representing government employees can collect fees from workers who choose not to join. California teachers backed by a conservative group said being forced to pay union fees violated the free-speech rights of nonmembers who disagree with the union's policy positions.

The split vote left in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the collection of "fair share" fees from nonmembers.

The result was an unlikely reprieve for organized labor. It had seemed virtually certain that the high court would rule 5-4 to overturn a system that's been in place nearly 40 years. But the court now is operating with only eight justices after the Feb. 13 death of Scalia, who had been expected to rule against the unions.

Would Obama's appointee Merrick Garland have voted with the liberals? Most likely, yes.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Justice Merrick Garland has a history of showing deference to federal labor regulators in reviewing unfair labor practice charges against employers. An analysis conducted by OnLabor found that Garland ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a top federal labor arbiter, in 18 of 22 appeals that appeared before his court. Garland granted the agency leeway in interpreting its regulatory approach and interpretation of its mission.

"Judge Garland wrote the majority opinion in 22 cases involving appeals of NLRB decisions. In all but four, Judge Garland upheld the entirety of the NLRB's decision finding that an employer had committed unfair labor practices," ONLabor said in a blog post. "This deference to the NLRB has had favorable consequences for labor and unions."

A pragmatic moderate centrist -- just like Obama, who's given to claiming lately that there's no difference between capitalism and communism.



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posted by Ace at 06:07 PM

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