UNITED STATES—A significant supreme court announcement was made On Wednesday, June 27, the United States Supreme Court ruled to eliminate union fees in the case of Janus vs. AFSCME. The Court ruled in favor of Janus 5-4. The deciding vote came from Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was recently appointed by President Donald Trump.
Mark Janus is a child support specialist employed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He claimed that the $45 monthly fees he was forced to pay to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) were unconstitutional and violated his first amendment rights. Janus was still paying union dues even after choosing not to join the union and to support its policies.
“I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to form a union, or be part of a union…But what is unfair and unconstitutional is forcing me — and millions of other American workers — to pay to advance polices we oppose just so we can serve our communities and our state,” Janus wrote in a testimonial.
The court’s rule allows public workers who are represented by a union, but chose not to join to no longer have to pay union dues/fees.
“So many of us have been forced to pay for political speech and policy positions with which we disagree, just so we can keep our jobs. This is a victory for all of us. The right to say ‘no’ to a union is just as important as the right to say ‘yes.’ Finally our rights have been restored,” said Janus.
President Trump tweeted his support of the decision. “Supreme Court Rules in favor of non-union workers who are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the democrats!”
United Automobile Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones released a statement after the ruling reading:
“Today’s Supreme Court Janus decision is yet another effort to put obstacles in front of working men and women to join collectively behind the power of a unified voice. To be clear, labor will survive. But to be equally clear, our elections do matter, as the appointment of conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch by the Republican-led Senate left little doubt about the outcome of this decision. The Janus decision is just another barrier and another attack on working men and women.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling impacts 5 million public employees in 23 states including the District of Columbia.