Dozens of union workers rallied outside of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest to protest the Supreme Court ruling that union members should not be forced to pay dues to support positions they don’t agree with.
Nurses, teachers, janitors and other workers from no fewer than 10 local labor unions joined the protest. They said the ruling is a result of corporate interests trying to silence the voices of millions of workers.
“Labor unions are now more critical than ever to fight back this unfair balance of power and standing for women, immigrants and people of color,” said Ruth Zolayvar, a pharmacy technician at UC San Diego.
Dahlia Tayag, a registered nurse, says her union allows her to speak out for patient rights without the fear of repercussion. She says she gladly pays union dues.
“I would pay more if they’d let me because the union is actually the one who gives me the ability to speak up for, to keep my patients safe,” said Tayag.
But among the crowd was one worker who supported the high court’s decision. Stephanie Corkran, a research associate at UC San Diego Medical Center says she supports labor rights, but shouldn’t be forced to pay dues to support a position she doesn’t agree with.
“There’s multiple unions representing small groups of people fighting for separate contracts and not for overall labor rights. Now that’s okay, but I don’t think it’s okay to take mandatory contributions out of my paycheck when I don’t agree with their focus,” said Corkran.
The ruling could cost labor unions tens of millions of dollars. But the president of SEIU Local 221 says the decision will only strengthen the unions.
“These decisions are trying to silence our voices, silence our voice in the workplace, and also silence our voices to support the community services we’re supposed to be providing,” said David Garcias.