The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 rejection of the “agency fee” that non-union members must pay Unions for negotiating public employee contract will only make Unions stronger, declared labor leaders and rank and file members. “This is certainly not a death knell or blow to Unions, but an opportunity to communicate batter with our members, to organize them,” said Vince Beltrami, head of Alaska’s AFL-CIO. But at the news conference held at AFL-CIO headquarters in Anchorage, the labor leaders also said they didn’t know how much money the decision would cost them because it was impossible to gauge how many workers would reject Union membership. Scott Hawkins, a Republican businessman running for Governor, said that while he welcomed the decision, it would only “clip their wings a bit.” GOP Rival Mead Treadwell said he didn’t expect the ruling would “erode collective bargaining for government employees.” Gov. Bill Walker described the decision as a “disappointment” that creates and “unnecessary obstacle for working people.” Mark Begich, a Democrat said the decision “undermines working families in Alaska and across the country.” “To paint this as anything other than Union busting is a farce, That’s what it’s always been about.” says Beltrami. He added, “They just happened to get that fifth Justice that they needed on the Supreme Court to have the decision come down in their favor.”
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