Don't restrain unions after high court ruling

January 13, 2011 

The U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruled that corporations and labor unions, in accordance with the First Amendment, could give unrestricted amounts of money to political campaigns.

The court's decision was faulty in that both organizations are made up of either stockholders or members who have varied political views that might differ from the CEO of a corporation or the president of a union. These executives have the power to unilaterally give money from the coffers of their respective organizations without the approval of its members or stockholders.

Many states have growing deficits and reduced tax revenues. State officials are wrestling with ways to curb salaries and pensions of government employees, funds that make up a large part of their budgets. Republican lawmakers in 16 states are considering a law that would require each worker to approve the use of any union dues before it could be spent for political purposes. According to Charles Wilson, a law professor at Ohio State University, if this happened, it would be the end of the American union movement.

The unions in this country lifted many blue-collar workers into the middle class even though many were not even union members; they rode the coattails of the union gains. Historically, labor unions have allowed many people to experience the American dream.

Philip W. Wolfe Bluffton

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