Supreme Court

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Against Compulsory Public-Sector Union Fees

SCOTUS will hear Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 this term.

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Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that has the potential of delivering a death blow to the legal privileges enjoyed by public-sector unions.

The case is Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. At issue is whether it is constitutional for state governments to compel public-sector workers to pay union fees as a condition of employment even when those workers are not union members.

The case was brought by Mark Janus, a state employee in Illinois who objects to paying mandatory fees to a union that he has refused to join. Janus argues that the state's scheme violates his First Amendment rights by forcing him to support political speech and activity that he does not wish to support.

Janus's overarching goal is to overturn the Supreme Court's 1977 precedent in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, in which the Court approved mandatory public-sector union fees on the grounds that non-union "free riders" should have to contribute something toward collective bargaining activities that benefit them too. That ruling provided a massive boon to public-sector unions nationwide.

"The Court should take this case," Janus and his lawyers argued in their petition, "to overrule Abood and declare [mandatory public-sector union] fees unconstitutional."

In 2016 the Supreme Court nearly overturned Abood in a case called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. But after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court could not reach a majority decision and tied 4-4. Most court-watchers believe that if Scalia had not died, Abood would have been overturned by a 5-4 margin.

The Supreme Court is now back to its full strength. Will recent appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch provide the fifth vote needed for Janus to prevail and for Abood to be overruled? We'll find out later this term.

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  1. This should be the nail in the coffin for unions.

    I am sure that the conservative majority were the only justices who voted to take these cases, so I would suspect they are willing to go against what unions want.

  2. There’s a simple solution to the union’s “free rider” argument. The union tells the non-union teacher that he or she won’t be included in the collective bargaining agreement! “Oh, please don’t throw me in the briar patch.”

    1. The flip side of that is the unions don’t get to bargain saying that “x” number of non-union workers will strike if a bargain is not reached. Less potential striking workers equals less chance of fear by employer to reach bargain.

  3. We pay the government taxes. Those taxes are used to pay employees. Those employees are forced to give some of that money to a union. The unions use that money to fund politicians. Those politicians raise taxes and give favors to the unions. Repeat.

    How anybody can’t see how this is forced speech is an idiot. Not only is it forced speech for the employee, it’s forced speech for every single taxpayer.

  4. Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that has the potential of delivering a death blow to the legal privileges enjoyed by public-sector unions.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up here.

  5. Will recent appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch provide the fifth vote needed for Janus to prevail and for Abood to be overruled? We’ll find out later this term.

    No need to fret, all the experts have agreed that Trump’s SCOTUS pick was a solid gold winner, by far his biggest accomplishment other than keeping Hillary out of the Oval Office. Gorsuch may very well be the biggest SCOTUS win for the GOP since Ike picked Earl Warren.

    1. No worries, he’s clearly the right-wing radical people hoped for. The richest entities on earth will get to loot more money for themselves and follow fewer rules while crushing workers, and we’ll all get to kick minorities in the nuts. For some reason lots of people find these worthy enough goals to steal a supreme court seat for.

      1. Looks like Tony still has complete faith in the Marxist zero-sum class-power theory of economics, which means he has no idea how wealth is created. Everyone point and laugh.

        The bodies of victims socialism are still washing up on the shore, and yet here you are, telling us it’s not enough.

      2. Hahaha Tony. You live by a failed Marxist fable of economics. Hahaha

        Point—–
        Point—–

        Tell us some more how great socialism is and don’t forget to add in how many millions of people socialism has murdered. Don’t leave out the Nazis either. They were socialists too.

      3. Nice non-sequitur you have there.

        Are you sure your name isn’t Wiley Miller?

  6. The public sector should have zero unions. If employees of the government don’t get paid enough, than don’t work for the state.

    You shouldn’t get to ‘bargain’ with the government to get a pay raise at the expense of the tax payer. It’s an absolute conflict of interest for both groups.

    1. If folks providing bureaucratic services for the government need unions that bad, that’s what privatization and contracting is for.

    2. Union “bargaining” envisions union members (who want more) and those who pay them (and want to pay less) sitting on opposite sides of the table and coming to a compromise. With public-sector unions, the union and their politicians are on the same side of the table, and those who have a stake in reducing what’s paid (we taxpayers) have no seat at the table at all.

  7. We elect people to manage laws and wages for public sector employee’s. If you require a union to protect you from your government, then we failed as a society to ensure the right people were elected to put the right laws and wages fair to a public sector employees.

  8. A good union doesn’t need mandatory dues. I belonged to one who properly represented me when I needed help. I didn’t count coup with my supervisor, did more than my fair share of work, and didn’t cause trouble for the union or my employer. I received no pay when a shop steward, knowing when to practice benign neglect, and when to thread a camel through the eye of a needle protecting those doing their work, minding their business working. I would have paid even if it wasn’t mandatory, but only contributed extra for a couple caused I believed in. Making Greenly electrician tool manufacture union was one of them.

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