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U. S. Supreme Court Ends Compelled Union Dues


June 26, 2018, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case of Janus V. AFSCME that compulsory union dues for public employees were no longer permissible thus restoring the First Amendment rights of all public employees to be able to chose whether or not to join a union or pay union fees or "fair share fees" whether they wanted to be a part of the union or not.

Republican leaders like Bruce Rauner indicated support and cited a victory saying that the decision was "pro-workers and pro-taxpayer" and that it was a historic victory for freedom of speech and affiliation for the public sector employees and for taxpayers who have to bear the high cost of government.

US Congressman Brad Schneider said that "Today's ruling by the Supreme Court is an attack on the right of public sector workers to negotiate for decent pay and workplace protections."

Schneider further elaborated that the Supreme Court simply brushed away four decades of legal precedent and denied unions the ability to collect "fair share fees" for the services and benefits that they provide to all workers, regardless of union membership.

"Unions helped build our nation's middle class, and today's ruling fits a pattern of attacks to undermine labor and working families, and weaken workers' right to negotiate for better pay, working conditions, medical benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave. This is a sad day for hard-working Americans including teachers, firefighters, police officers, civil servants, and more – good people who serve our public every day," Schneider said.

The President of the Illinois Education Association, Kathi Griffin, said that non-members of unions like the various teachers unions in the state are no longer required to pay their fair share, however, unions are still required by law to represent them.

"Allowing some to opt out of paying will make it harder for all public employees to provide the services that everyone depends on; it will be harder for our educators to advocate for our students and public education; and it will be harder for workers to join together in strong unions," Griffin explained. "Let's be clear, the goal of the people who supported this legal case, including Governor Rauner, is to try to silence IEA, NEA, local associations and other public employee

unions. They want to stop us from using our collective voice to advocate for our students, for ourselves and for public education.

According to arguments as the case proceeded, Justices Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas, favored ending compelled union dues. Justices Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg, favored the status quo. Justice Gorsuch was relatively silent and provided no indication of how he was going to vote on the issue. Several other Justices such as Justice Ginsburg cited a concern over how the end of compelled fees might affect private sector unions and Justice Kagan cited concerns regarding the impact of union contracts that are existing.

Justice Gorsuch cast the deciding vote in favor of abolishing compelled fees for union dues for government employees.


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