SCOTUS will hear mandatory union dues challenge
- Author: Rogelio Becker Sep 29, 2017,
Sep 29, 2017, 0:22
The Supreme Court is giving auto dealerships a second chance to put the brakes on overtime pay for service advisers.
Gov. Bruce Rauner is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether non-union state employees must pay "fair share" fees to cover bargaining costs. Once the court's conservatives establish that fair share fees violate the First Amendment in the public-sector context, they can turn to private-sector unions and deploy a similar analysis.
One last point: Janus involves only public-sector unions, or unions composed of state employees. Currently, public-sector unions in 22 states are permitted to collect fees from workers who aren't members.
On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus v.
Public employees who do not belong to the union can not be required to pay fees the union would use for political activity like lobbying or union organizing. In December, Service Employees International Union reportedly started readying a 30 percent, $90 million budget cut by 2018, citing the empowerment of hostile right-wing forces.
"No person should be forced to give up a portion of their pay each month to fund public sector union activity against their will", Rauner said in a statement. In Abood vs Detroit Board of Education, the Court ruled the fees were constitutional as long they weren't used for political or ideological activities. But Justice Antonin Scalia's February 2016 death left the group without a fifth vote, and the court instead split 4-4.
But David Frederick, a Washington lawyer representing Janus's union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said union dues are justified by the expense of contract negotiations.
IL is one of 22 states that permit agency fees, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.
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". Ending the so-called agency fees at the heart of the case has always been a goal of USA conservatives.
"This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor", Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, as the government-worker union is known. Anticipating a legal challenge, Rauner also filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have his decision declared legal and hoping to bring the issue to the Supreme Court.
Since Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court this year, the Janus case presents another chance for the court to consider Abood. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The justices will hear argument in the winter.