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  ·   By Connie Derr, Albuquerque Journal

Right-to-work agenda is to transfer wealth from workers

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 (Illinois). The case is an effort to overturn a 40-year decision – Abood v. Detroit Board of Education – which permits unions and public employers to negotiate agreements that require all represented employees to share in the cost of their union representation over basic workplace issues when the law requires the union to represent all employees, and not just its members.

If the court sides against everyday working people and aligns with wealthy and powerful extremists, as is expected, then workers’ freedom to exercise workplace democracy will be drastically weakened. Employees working with the benefit of a union contract will have the option to take all the perks and benefits negotiated by their union co-workers, but without having to pay a cent to enforce that agreement.

Over time, employees will be tempted and some will choose to drop their union dues and take the benefits for free. Decades of progress on job safety, health care, retirement benefits and equitable pay will erode as union members lose resources used to defend and improve employee contracts.

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