Janus v AFSCME

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court voted on whether or not non-union members should pay a “fair share” fee for union representation.  The closely watched case of Janus v AFSCME settled on Wednesday in a 5-4 decision in the favor of non-union members. The ruling states that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.

The case started out when Mark Janus, an Illinois state government non-union employee, objected to having to pay $45 per month to the AFSCME union. The payments were taken directly out of his paycheck each month, although he is not a union member.

In 2015, Janus filed the federal lawsuit challenging that the fees were in violation of the First Amendment.

In a Tribune article from 2016, Janus wrote: “When I was hired by the state of Illinois, no one asked if I wanted a union to represent me. I only found out the union was involved when money for the union started coming out of my paychecks.”

In the 1977 Abood v Detroit Board of Education case, the supreme court ruled that the public-sector unions could charge non-members fees for “collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment purposes.” The Janus v AFSCME case now overturns that ruling.

According to an article about the case in The Guardian: “Non-union public sector workers in more than 20 states pay unions for collective bargaining and unions in those states will lose fees from hundreds of thousands of nonmembers as a result.”

Lauren Novak, a partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin, said: “There is no doubt that this decision profoundly impacts whether public sector unions will exist in the future. Without the ability to collect fair share fees, many may not survive.”

“I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to form a union, or be part of a union,” Janus further wrote in the Tribune article. “But what is unfair and unconstitutional is forcing me — and millions of other American workers — to pay to advance policies we oppose just so we can serve our communities and our state.”

What are your thoughts on this ruling?

I’m Francine Ward, what are your thoughts? Join my conversation in my  Law Facebook Fan Page, my Law Twitter PageGoogle+, or in one of my LinkedIn Group discussions.

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