Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Constitution and Unions

This isn't the usual opinion piece, because I honestly don't know the answer and I am hoping someone out there can enlighten me. In light of the Wisconsin mess, I started wondering whether Governor Walker could be stopped on constitutional grounds.

I understand that there are right to work states. That's not the issue. My question is whether a state or the federal government have the right to prohibit collective bargaining.

It seems to me that the First Amendment clearly establishes the right to unionize, although, of course, unions are not mentioned by name. But the right to free speech and assembly are clearly at work here. If workers choose to assemble in order to get their voices heard, what right has anyone to deny them?

How are lobbyists different in this regard from unions? As much as I hate lobbyists, I know it is their right to create PACs and to lobby for whatever cause they choose. Surely the Republicans would invoke their first amendment rights if someone tried to take away SarahPAC's ability to raise money and lobby for their causes, however stupid some of them may be. How do Republicans justify the constitutionality of silencing unions?

If there are any experts in union history or law who can answer this question, I'd surely appreciate it.

On a related note, why can't Obama or some Democrat propose legislation making the right to collective bargaining the law of the land?


Anonymous said...

Obama has been disappointingly quiet on this whole issue. I don't think he'll be proposing legislation. He's too busy planning his next attack on us with Arne Duncan. Remember Central Falls.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do remember; none of those high school teachers were even evaluated when Obama supported axing them. Then he hosted the children from the film Waiting for Superman at the White house. That was after he put tens of millions of dollars toward charter schools...

Anonymous said...

I think we're missing the real issue here. Our unions have been hacks unto themselves. They are bloated and out of touch. They are doing us more harm than good at this point. We need a union, but they have done such a piss poor job recently that they give everyone a bad name. Our unions don't even have a clue that times have changed and they need to change back to what they originally were, rather than the bloated bureaucracies they've become. We are all going to get shut down because they refuse to see the writing on the wall and get with the 21st century. We need new blood in our unions or we're doomed.

Anonymous said...

I am equally confused as to the rights of Special Need students when It comes to Charter schools. Federal Law states The every child should be afforded an Free Appropriate equal education, yet charter schools Get to pick and choose their students. as a public school teacher if I had the ability to pick and choose my students I would have no problems with standardized test. Charter schools are also Anti Union which is why many of the teachers in charter schools are opting to join The teachers union. I believe In the constitutional rights of every child entitle to a free education and I also believe that A school without a Union and nothing more than a slave plantation. "It is what it is"