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Photo: Alex Wong/Newsmakers via Getty Images

The Supreme Court has delivered a potentially crushing blow to public-sector unions, ruling 5-4 today that they cannot collect fees from non-members. The ruling will likely diminish unions’ negotiating power and, with it, their political clout.

Why it matters: The public sector is one of the last bastions of labor’s strength — about 34% of government workers are unionized, compared with just 6.5% of the private sector. But this ruling could shrink those rolls significantly.

The details: The court struck down so-called “agency fees” that unions collect from non-members.

  • Those fees can only be used for collective bargaining, not overtly political activity. The rationale is that everyone in a workplace benefits from union negotiations over things like salary and time off, so everyone should contribute.
  • But critics say that because these unions are bargaining with the government, their bargaining is inherently political. The Supreme Court agreed with that position today.

Between the lines: The writing was on the wall with this one. The court’s conservative majority has been inching closer to striking down agency fees for years.

The impact: Unions say the loss of agency fees will contribute to a “free-rider” problem — workers will still benefit from unions’ negotiations and won’t see a need to join. But without agency fees, unions won’t be able to afford the lawyers and other staff who drive their negotiations, making membership ultimately seem like a worse deal.

Go deeper: Conservatives are on a Supreme Court winning streak

Go deeper

FTC releases findings on how Big Tech eats little tech

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan signaled changes are on the way in how the agency scrutinizes acquisitions after revealing the results of a study of a decade's worth of Big Tech company deals that weren't reported to the agency.

Why it matters: Tech's business ecosystem is built on giant companies buying up small startups, but the message from the antitrust agency this week could chill mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

First look: Biden's economic case for green cards

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) is promoting the economic benefits and costs of providing green cards to millions of unauthorized immigrants in a blogpost being released on Friday, according to a draft provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The post comes as the fate of millions of immigrants, including those with Temporary Protected Status or DACA protections, rests with Congress — and the Senate parliamentarian.

Ina Fried, author of Login
37 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Facebook's social balance is in the red

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Facebook is essential to our lives. Facebook is ruining our lives. Holding both these truths at once will make your head hurt.

While covering the Olympics in Tokyo, I spent a ton of time on Facebook. Each day, during several hourlong bus rides, I would see who was online in Messenger and share photos and stories there with family and friends. I also posted frequently on my news feed.