The Electrical Worker online
July 2016

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Your Most Important Decision

This November, I want every brother and sister to keep these numbers in mind.

5 to 4. No, it's not a baseball score. It is how the Supreme Court has voted in numerous decisions over the years that have hurt our nation and the middle class.

5 to 4 is how the Supreme Court voted back in 2000 to give away the election to the man I believe was the worst president in modern times: George W. Bush.

5 to 4 is how the Supreme Court voted in the Citizens United case to let billionaires spend unlimited amounts of anonymous cash to buy our elections.

And if it wasn't for the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, 5 to 4 is likely how the Supreme Court was going to vote in the Friedrichs v. CTA case, a decision that would have gutted public-employees unions across the country by making the entire public sector right-to-work.

President Obama's nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland is being blocked by Senate Republicans who have vowed to prevent a vote on a new judge until a new president is sworn in.

And with the likelihood that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy will retire sometime during the next four years, the next president will likely have upwards of three vacancies to fill.

That means the next president will likely decide how the Supreme Court will rule on key decisions affecting you, your job and your union for decades to come.

The question is this: Will we have justices who believe in the right to collectively bargain, to earn a living wage and keep big money out of politics?

The answer lies with the American people.

The presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump released a list of a dozen possible candidates in May. Nearly every one of his picks are members of the ultra-conservative Federalist society, a legal group that supports right-to-work, and abolishing prevailing wage and minimum wage protections. They are people like Wisconsin Judge Diane Sykes, a close ally of Gov. Scott Walker.

Trump claims to be independent, but when it comes to one of the most important decisions he would make as president, he falls in line with Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the National Right-to-Work Foundation.

Whatever your opinion of the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, it is a safe bet that she would not appoint a justice committed to tearing up every victory won by working people in the 20th century.

It is up to every IBEW member to study the issues and choose wisely on Nov. 8. Your union and your job are riding on it.


Also: Stephenson: Lessons from Another Verizon Strike Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer