Readers React: Public employee unions have too much power. It’s about time the Supreme Court reined them in

Union workers rally in front of L.A. City Hall on June 29 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling against public unions' ability to collect mandatory fees.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I have experienced how teacher unions in California work, both as an officer and later as an objector to union policies. My view is that the Supreme Court ruling that government employees cannot be compelled to pay any fees to the unions representing them is correct.

My union abused power at the expense of the public good.

First, it required that I join the state and national unions as well as the local one. The local did the bulk of the work representing teachers and negotiating contracts. My “fair share” would have been dues to the local only.

Second, the union defended teachers who were grossly ineffective with what I believe is a tortured, expensive version of “due process.” Meanwhile, students suffered in classes taught by an ineffective teacher.


Finally, teacher and public employee pensions are bankrupting school districts and public agencies.

Steve Murray, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Am I missing something in the argument regarding union dues and violating the “rights” of nonmembers by forcing them to pay fees that support the cost of collective bargaining? Why not make the negotiation process fair for both members and nonmembers?

Negotiated salaries and benefits should accrue only to the members paying their dues. Nonmembers must negotiate on their own, one at a time, and accept whatever their individual bargaining “power” achieves.

Granting nonmembers this “freedom” will no doubt lead to paying them less, which will save taxpayers like me big bucks.

Jon Merritt, Los Angeles



To the editor: The ruling only addresses government employees, the people who make the unions that represent them taxpayer-funded organizations.

In other words, these are Democratic Party strongholds. Instead of saying the ruling is a blow to labor, it would be more accurate say it is a blow to the Democratic Party.

James L. Harley, Banning



To the editor: It seems Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. inadvertently crafted a legal basis for not paying one’s taxes.

I offer my text changes to his rationale parenthetically: “Such fees (taxes) improperly forced some workers (citizens) to back unions (our nation) on issues they might disagree with — for instance, teacher tenure (for instance, war).”

William P. Bekkala, West Hollywood

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