Seeds: Since the 19th century, labor unions have debated in the United States. The purpose of a labor union is to stand for the rights of the workers. However, the workers they represent do not always agree with some union’s policies, or they don’t want to pay the fees associated with being a member of the union. Currently, workers in some states who do not wish to join these unions can still be forced to pay “agency dues” which are only slightly lower than normal membership fees. In other states, workers who aren’t a part of unions are not forced to pay these fees, but are still represented by the union in negotiations over wages, benefits, and working conditions even if they do not wish to be, as the union is the only representative for all laborers. This divide has led to tension between unions and laborers, tension that has made it all the way to the currently ineffectual Supreme Court.
Core: Today another Supreme Court case resulted in a 4-4 split, marking another failure of the evenly divided court to reach a decision. The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, posed the question of whether or not workers should be forced to join or support a union if they do not wish to do so. This non-decision is a victory for the unions, as many believe the impending court decision before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia would not have been in their favor. As of now, the decision will be resolved individually, on the state level.
Skin: The news media has taken this ruling as another opportunity to take a look at the current stalemate within the Supreme Court, and how it is affecting policy on the federal level.
Leaves: Once again, it is becoming increasingly more evident that the Supreme Court needs a ninth justice in order to make definitive rulings. The question now is just how long the Senate can block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
Food For Thought: Do you think the Senate should be blocking President Obama’s nomination? Should workers be forced to join labor unions? Are labor unions good for the US as a whole?