Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Mandatory Fees to Unions

30 September, 2017, 15:59 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • A Momentous Term For The Court

"With the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the Janus case, we are now one step closer to freeing over 5 million public sector teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other employees from the injustice of being forced to subsidize a union as a condition of working for their own government", NRTW President Mark Mix said in a statement provided by InsideSources.

"Unions have to represent everybody in the workplace but an individual worker does not have to become a member of the union, but all workers benefit from the wages and the quality healthcare, the things that are negotiated in the contract". "That is the power of class and collective action suits: They let workers pool their claims, making it possible for an attorney to earn enough to make the case worth pursuing". The arrangement was supposed to prevent non-members from "free riding", since the union has a legal duty to represent all workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - the largest public employee union in IL and the one at the center of the lawsuit - predicted victory for their side.

The justices last week granted review in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, which could affect the treasuries and political might of all public-employee unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and their state and local affiliates.

Gorsuch's speech, one of his first since joining the court in April, came just a few days before the Supreme Court's begins its new term Monday. Our Never Trump friends should acknowledge that if Hillary Clinton had won the election, she would have appointed a justice to succeed Antonin Scalia who would have voted to keep public employees in a state of involuntary servitude to the unions, and the Democratic Party, forever. Without mandatory fees, workers who decline to join the union would still reap the benefits of the union without paying any of the cost.

A clear ruling from the high court has the potential to seriously disrupt the underlying model for unions representing public workers.


While the Janus case involves a different plaintiff from a different state (Illinois), the argument is the same: Collective bargaining by public-sector unions inherently involves political issues that trigger First Amendment rights, just like the overtly political union activities that nonmembers have long had the right to refuse to help pay for.

Janus vs. AFSCME challenges the constitutionality of compelling government workers to pay dues to a union to which they do not wish to join.

Public unions and worker advocates characterize challenges to fair-share fees as attacks on working people's ability to act collectively. The justices have already considered the question presented by the case twice without resolving it, but are nearly certain to do so during this go-round - with potentially serious implications for the union. "I am hopeful the court will see it that way in the end." said Governor Bruce Rauner.

"By its very nature, the activity of a government union is political", Rauner said in a Thursday interview with the Tribune.

An AFSCME statement calls the case a plan to "rig the economic rules against everyday working people". They also argue that having one representative of employees makes it easier to bargain and "ensure labor peace".

Two years ago, the Supreme Court agreed to hear this dispute and told the 9th Circuit to reconsider the issue. And if you pay dues, you have no say in whether the union uses the money to support political candidates, even if you oppose those candidates.

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