An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
It's Spokane Public Radio's Spring Fund Drive. Donate now until Tuesday and your donation will be matched up to $30,000!

Washington Labor Official reacts to Supreme Court Ruling




Washington State's largest union organization is condemning a US Supreme Court decision as a cave-in to corporate elites that undermines their right to negotiate for fair wages and benefits.




 Wednesday, the US Supreme Court handed down a decision that dealt a blow to unions representing public employees.

The justices said in a 5-4 opinion that state government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be compelled to pay a share of union dues for covering the cost of negotiating contracts.


Up until now, some workers could enjoy union benefits without paying official dues, but still had to pay what are called “ agency fees”, to cover the cost of collective bargaining.


David Groves is with the Washington State Labor council, the state’s largest union organization., representing 600 labor organizations in the state.


 Groves says the result of the ruling will be less clout when it comes to getting workers fair compensation for their labors.



“For those unions that have a significant number of people that choose not to contribute to the cause, they are going to be weaker, and that will result in weaker contracts when they go to the bargaining table, of the employer sees you as divided, and not representing the whole workforce, that puts you in a much weaker position to bargain for raises , to maintain benefits , or retirement benefits,” said Groves.




 Some conservatives are hailing the ruling. The Washington arm of the Freedom Foundation released a memo saying, “ To the unions, its members’ dues are nothing but an ATM from which they can make unlimited withdrawals to support a radical leftwing agenda that all too often has nothing whatsoever to do with compensation, benefits or any other work-related consideration.”


Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.