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Firefighters union leader: Unions can recover from Supreme Court ruling

The head of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Harold Schaitberger, said on Thursday that unions can recover from a Supreme Court ruling that nonunion public sector workers cannot be forced to pay a “fair-share” union fee.

"I don't want to understate that it's a significant decision, but I am not terribly concerned that it will really be a devastating decision," Schaitberger told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on "Rising." 

"You know, the labor movement has been around ... for years. Our union has been around for over a hundred years. We've done very well in some of the most trying times," he continued.

"I know that in the early stages of our union, it was prohibited to belong to a union. Then it was prohibited to engage in collective bargaining. So we have found a way to represent workers, professional firefighters, and I think the labor movement as a whole has done that over so many decades," he said.  

"So this will be a new challenge, but I believe that ultimately we will continue to prevail on behalf of the working class."

Schaitberger's comments come one day after the nation's highest court ruled in a 5-4 decision to strike down an Illinois law, which resembles laws in 22 other states, that permitted public sector unions to collect fees from nonmembers for collective bargaining.

"Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from the nonmember's wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay," Justice Samuel Alito wrote. 

 — Julia Manchester