Corporations are people, but I guess unions aren't

Who's winning the class war? Did you have to ask?

So seven of the Supreme Court Justices, including all of the ones who voted for corporate free speech in Citizens United, have decided that unions aren't the same as corporations and don't have the same political rights.

The court ruled 7-2 that unions can't use their members' dues for political campaigns unless they ask first. That doesn't sound so awful; gee, if you're going to take my money and spend it on a candidate I don't like, shouldn't I get a chance to say no? (Of course, that's already the case, and this ruling is pretty narrow -- the union wanted to raise the money and offer refunds to members who asked. The court says you have to ask first.)

But the distinction here is interesting. Corporations don't have to ask their shareholders in advance before they donate money to political campaigns. In fact, they don't have to ask shareholders -- who, in theory, are the members of the corporation, the owners, the ones whose financial interests are most directly at stake -- at all.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. can use millions of dollars of its shareholders' money to support candidates and causes -- and if you're one of the poor retired workers who holds PG&E stock as part of your pension, you think you have any say? No, you don't.

So what this does is further erode the power of the one large established group that can sometimes spend close to what big business does, and that's organized labor.


Of course shareholders voluntarily pay for their stock, whereas union members are forced to pay the dues or lose their jobs. There is that tiny little difference.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

The above article is misleading to the point of being false. The ruling of the court today is that public employee unions (a subset of all unions) can not require members (and non-members who are forced to pay a fee to the union as a condition of employment) to pay a fee, that has been explicitly set aside for political activities, without the consent of the workers in question.

Also the Citizens United Decision was about a non-profit corporation explicitly created for the purpose of political speech being muzzled by federal law, and is irrelevant to the concerns of shareholders in business corporations.

The author is either ignorant of the law in question ot misleading readers. either way he or she should be ashamed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

Irrelevant to shareholders? Really.
Thanks Mr. Rove.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

While Citizens United did free up non-profit political action committees to spend unlimited sums and not corporations directly, just who do you think is funding this political action committees? Corporations... and their directors and board members... in unlimited amounts. Legal semantics doesn't get around the fact that corporations are now allowed, using non-profit PACs as their vehicle, to spend unlimited sums on influencing our elections. The impact of this decision will be next seen most mightily in the upcoming Presidential election. We already saw its impact in the mid-term Congressional and Gubernatorial elections. If you don't think conservative corporate-funded PACs are buying elections, then you a) haven't looked at Wisconsin and b) must be in the oceanfront real estate business in Arizona!

Posted by Chris Parkerson on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

any hopelessly biased left-wing conduits like SFBG.

So it's a level playing field.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

Corporations have an outsized advantage over unions when it comes to financial resources at the ready for political spending. And those corporations' leadership tends to favor the Republican Party, creating a nervous political imbalance. I'd be afraid of this imbalance if it favored the other party - which may indeed happen at some point in the future should political tides shift if "Citizens United" is not undone. Unions are not able to compete with corporate financial resources - they weren't really able before this decision and they surely will not be after. However, I do legally agree with this decision: unions should not be able to use regular union funds or unmarked contributions/dues for political activism without permission of the union member. By similar token, corporations should not be permitted to do the same unless granted so by their shareholders. But it's going to take a different case making it's way to the Supreme Court to test those particular limits.

Posted by Chris Parkerson on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

... because they are obviously stronger and capable of greater delusions than any I've ever encountered. Unions were not able to financially compete with corporations before this ruling, and they surely won't be able to after. Corporations have outsized resources to now spend on influencing political outcomes - and their owners/directors have similar capabilities granted under "Citizens United" for spending their personal fortunes. And they currently favor one party, the Republicans. However, in time, that may be switched and I'd still be equally nervous and disturbed. Now, I actually agree with the Supreme Court ruling here: unions, which for many people are a required membership organization, should not be allowed to use dues or any other requested funds for political advocacy without that member's approval. But that same test should also be applied to corporations with regards to their shareholders. I, as a shareholder of a corporation, should also have a say over whether my investment is spent for particular political advocacy or not. However, we'll have to wait for additional legal tests against those limits to wind their way through the courts. But, you're not fooling me or anyone by your attempt at making this look like a "level playing field." Because it's not - not in power, influence, income, wealth, or by any other rational, factual metric.

Posted by Chris Parkerson on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

Today is a sad day in the halls of our local SEIU.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

When I was an active union member I paid into a specific political fund administered by the Union. That fund was separate from dues and was voluntary.

Posted by Guest Adilet on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

A union's membership are brainwashed by their self-serving leadership.

See the difference?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

A lame argument even by Tim's deranged standards. It's no wonder he and his creaky old ideas are constantly ridiculed, as he settles for typing when he should be thinking.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 8:00 am

"Pay and benefit differences between union leadership and the rank and file put the two on opposing sides of class struggle. The cooperative strategies used by labor leaders in recent decades haven’t stemmed the loss of union members, haven’t resulted in rising wages and benefits for union members, and have not slowed one iota the neo-liberal program to destroy the U.S. labor market. The question of what union leadership is being paid so much to do seems legitimate?"

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

Union leadership are Eric Marr types, out of touch with the actual workers, they claim to be down with. They think the world runs on good intentions, and buzz words. They are often as sleazy as used car salesmen. The true believers in the work place defer to them in all things, even though the only skill many of the reps and leadership have is bullshitting.

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

The Citizen's United decision will go down with Dred Scott as the most shameful in the history of the Supreme Court.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 12:28 am

From my personal opinion, I think corporations are perceived as large contributors to a country's local economy through their businesses' profits and revenues both locally and internationally. Whereas as for unions, their establishments here are mainly to act as a platform for support, which is obviously not recognized as significant enough. That is the reason why they are not allowed to "voice out" when it comes to making decisions or at least have a say in a particular topic.

Posted by Victoria on Jan. 02, 2013 @ 11:01 pm