The US Supreme Court seems to be poised to make the entire country a so called "right to work" country. From what I have been reading, in both mainstream and counter culture media the smart money is betting on the court to end compulsory dues.
I consider myself pro union 100%. I know that without unions the working men and woman of this country will be completely helpless to the will of the employer. There will always be someone who will do what is considered "unskilled" for less than you do.
It's a documented fact that workers represented by a union receive pay at a higher rate than workers doing the same job without a union
Unions were largely responsible for all the gains in the graphic below
With that said, I have to say that I am right in the middle of the fence regarding this Supreme Court decision. From where I sit I have seen unions become large unaccountable bureaucracies. In the case of ATU757, the union I am most familiar with, I have to say that the amount of secrecy that our union employs rivals TRIMET itself. These unions that have a guaranteed funding mechanism have very little reason to fight for its members. The people that occupy the executive offices of said unions are all making six figure salaries. These people have become comfortable in their nice offices, going to meetings, acting like executives from the executive class, taking trips on our dime around the country and the world. If they win a good contract these executives get paid and if they lose a contract they get paid. So what incentive is there for 'our' unions to do right by us? None that I can see.
The most powerful period in American history in the union labor movement was the 1930's and 40's. Long before membership became 'compulsory'. In 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Ed union membership became required in the public sector. It appears that unions started losing their power about that time to where we are today. I can't think of any major gains by any unions for over a decade actually.
So where does this leave us. Sometimes its a good thing to destroy existing institutional structures because then there is room for new 'responsive' structures to appear.
The supreme court ruling against the current public sector unions may be just the thing that is needed to get the union movement once again responsive to its members.
I won't cry too many tears if the decision goes against the unions.
(And yes, I would continue to pay my dues which I do now voluntarily)
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - The Atlantic