The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to public sector unions Wednesday.
In a 5-4 vote, the justices struck down an Illinois law that required non-union workers to pay fees that go toward collective bargaining.
Meaning, even if you’re not a member of a union, you still had to pay certain fees because, union advocates will say, you still reaped the benefits.
But the court found that unconstitutional.
The decision doesn't impact Nevada directly because it is not one of the 23 states that made the fair share fees a requirement following a Supreme Court ruling in 1977.
However, Boyd McCamish, the organizing director of Nevada's AFSCME, which is the largest trade union of public employees in the country, said the decision will eventually impact union members around the country.
“This is a seismic shift," he said, “This is an attempt by the right wing and elite to disrupt the financial flows of unions.”
Nevada’s union membership is still higher than the national average, although labor statistics show membership has been declining in recent years.
McCamish said when people realize who is pushing to end unions and telling people to "give themselves a raise" by quitting the union, they actually end up becoming a union member.
“Most people have a good common sense to know that the only way we’re going to improve the quality of life for ourselves and our family is by sticking together with our co-workers and trying to fight back some very powerful forces who are really trying to take away all of the gains workers have made in this country during the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement,” he said.
McCamish said unions have been engaging with non-members for several years because "we knew yesterday was coming."
They are also explaining to fair share fee payers that they are not full union members. McCamish said many people don't even realize they're not full members and when they do understand - they join as full members.
Boyd McCamish, organizing director, Nevada’s AFSCME
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