Fairfield University business professor says Supreme Court ruling is a blow to unions but not a fatal one


Image: Norm SolomonToday, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision concerning Harris v. Quinn, a case from Illinois. Labor expert Norman A. Solomon, Ph.D., professor of management at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business, says the ruling is a blow to unions but not a fatal blow. The SCOTUS blog noted that union bargaining fees cannot be imposed on employees that are not full public employees.

Dr. Solomon noted of the ruling:

"This 5-4 decision is a blow to organized labor's efforts to have public sector workers who benefit from union representation contribute to the expense of doing so - but it is not a fatal blow. The use of the 'Agency shop' in this case was for home health care workers who, in the majority's view were not full-fledged state employees since they worked for individual patients although the employees' pay came from public funds. The more significant issue will be whether the Supreme Court in the future decides that ANY compulsory payment of union dues by full-fledged public employees violates the first amendment. Such a decision would require unions operating in the public sector to spend valuable time and resources convincing workers to pay dues and to establish mechanisms by the union to collect those dues - this would be a major blow to public sector unions."

Dr. Solomon served as dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business from 2001-11 and has taught at universities in the United States and Canada. Extensively published, he received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also holds a certificate from Harvard University's Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. He has co-authored a text on labor relations, authored many scholarly articles and made many scholarly presentations. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, USA Today, Workforce Management, and Tennessee Public Radio, among other news organizations. Among the courses he teaches is "Negotiation & Dispute Resolution."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 30, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 328