RIPDA firmly believes in the right of workers to organize and views organized labor unions as a crucial means by which to promote fair wages, safe work environments, and a truly democratic method of giving voice to working men and women. Further, RIPDA opposes any variation of “Right to Work” and supports closed shops or, when necessary, “fair share” or “agency fees” for any and all employees that profit from the bargaining units who negotiate on behalf of the employees of an organization.
While RIPDA recognizes differences in all sectors and workplace environments, and understands fully the need for local bargaining units to negotiate based on conditions specific to the shop, we stand in opposition to any and all permitted limitations of the resources necessary to support collective bargaining. It is our firm belief that there should be no such “free rider” articles ruled against the organizations designed to advocate for the workers, by the workers and of the workers. Such limitations allow for an unfair advantage of management and administration over rank and file workers and open the gates for an overall reduction in the value placed on bargaining unit workers.
Specifically, in the case of Harris vs. Quinn, the restriction of a union’s ability to require dues or agency fees for a class of employee that is not viewed as being a “fully-fledged” public sector employee, (in this case personal home health aides) works only to disenfranchise a class of workers whose negotiated contract improves overall compensation, and raises the standards of service provided by requiring quality and training levels on par with increased pay and benefits.
On a national scale, this opinion of the court diminishes the ability for unions to grow their memberships in the sector of unionized numbers with membership percentages high enough to enact democratic change in the workplace: public service. By distinguishing between “fully fledged” public sector employees and quasi-public employees, and subsequently setting precedent limiting the requirement of dues or agency fees of publicly funded union members not considered “fully fledged,” the public sector is incentivized to outsource traditionally government functions to private, for-profit corporations and using taxpayer dollars to produce corporate profit at the cost of fair wages, safe work practices and regulated standards of service
The successful initiative of the court’s five to four ruling in favor of limiting the public sector’s ability to mandate dues or agency fees for union representation and contract negotiation by designating an arbitrary distinction that favors strongly the incentive for profit-driven ventures to replace government workers for publicly funded jobs was promoted by the wealthy, corporate-sponsored Right to Work lobby. The RIPDA sees the decision as an extension of Right to Work’s agenda of eroding on a national scale, union participation and the middle class economy that unions ensure.
For these reasons, the RIPDA strongly opposes the opinion and ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States on the case of Harris vs. Quinn.