Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Mandatory Fees to Unions

Posted September 29, 2017

The Chicago Suntimes reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to address the issue in an IL case by Mark Janus, a child-support specialist who alleges forcing him to pay union fees violates the Constitution.

IL employee Mark Janus contends he shouldn't have to pay the fees because he is forced to support the speech of a union bargaining representative who is negotiating on political issues such as wages, pensions and benefits.

And the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia had left the conservative branch of the court with only four votes.

IL is one of about two dozen states that requires its workers to pay fair share fees to public employee unions if they are not union members. If the fees weren't mandatory, workers could become free riders, benefiting from union representation without paying for it, according to a branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that represents Janus and other IL workers. But to those who view unions as eternally pesky enemies of job creators, and public-sector unions as self-serving champions of socialism, the end justifies the means.

That case, Friedrichs v. California Teacher's Association, was over the approximately $650 each teacher in California has to pay the union, despite the fact the union's political statements and bargaining activities may be in direct violation of any individual teacher's speech rights.

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Half the states, including MI, have enacted right-to-work laws that say employees don't have to join a union or pay agency fees.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has revived a lawsuit that contends the state is failing in its obligation to adequately fund public schools.

On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus v.

"People shouldn't be forced to surrender their First Amendment right to decide for themselves what organizations they support just because they decide to work for the state, their local government or a public school", he added.

Eighteen state attorneys general signed a friend of the court brief by the Michigan Attorney General's Office, which urges the justices to abandon the "meaningless distinction between collective bargaining and other political activity".

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About 20 states, including California, allow what the unions like to call "fair-share" fees.

The conservative-majority Supreme Court has signaled dissatisfaction with the Abood ruling in two prior cases in recent years.

Lawyers for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center are representing Janus and they praised the court's decision to step in.

Arguments in the case are likely to take place in early 2018, with a decision expected before the June adjournment of the court.

Unions had been bracing for an unfavorable ruling after oral arguments in January indicated that a majority of the justices were skeptical of the fair share arrangement.

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