Republicans on and off the bench are moving to kill unions. But millennials—the most pro-union generation since the 1930s—may yet find a way to organize.
For conservatives, the much-anticipated Supreme Court decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case may be coming eight years too late. If, as expected, the five Republican justices on the Court rule for the plaintiff, which would end public employee unions’ ability to collect dues from all the workers they represent, they will significantly weaken the nation’s largest unions, among them the two teachers unions, as well as AFSCME and SEIU. These are also among the most significant organizations in Democrats’ voter-mobilization programs and, more generally, in supporting progressive groups and causes. Even more fundamentally, the right plainly hopes such a ruling will also drive the final nail into the coffin of the American labor movement.
While a pro-Janus ruling could strengthen the Republicans electorally, when it comes to killing unions, the right is simply too late. The current configurations of the union movement may well shift, but the growing public support for labor suggests that in one form or another, worker organizations are not going away.