COMMENTARY | Dianne Knox, a state employee in California, objected to paying her part of an assessment by the SEIU, the labor union representing many of her co-workers. She filed suit and started a legal battle than went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor on Thursday.
Knox's actions were selfish. The fee Knox objected to is called a "fair share fee." It's a fee paid by non-union employees in union shops to support the union. Right-wing politicians, pundits, big businesses and other union-busters object to these fees because they're charged to non-members. There's just one flaw with their objection, though, and it's a whopper.
The non-members, like Dianne Knox, are still getting all the benefits of the union's collective bargaining efforts even though they are not paying union dues. That's right: They're coasting along and trying to get a free ride on the union-advantage train.
Knox is complaining about paying a modest amount of money, less than what union members pay, to support getting all the pay increases, protections, and benefits granted to union members. Her objection marks her as a freeloading whiner.
If she's determined to gripe over small fees here's what Knox should do:
Find out what someone in her position had for pay and benefits before the SEIU got involved. Give up the extra money and benefits the union won for employees. Sign away any job protection she has. Try to negotiate a better deal without union support.
Until people like Knox are ready to fight their own battles while living without health care and on reduced salary they should write the checks to the SEIU with smiles on their faces. Doing otherwise is still freeloading even if the Supreme Court ruled in their favor.