Janus ruling hits public unions hard

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the ruling of the 1977 case of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The 5-4 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME denies public-sector unions the right to collect “fair share” fees.

The decision to overturn Abood is expected to hurt public unions by causing a drop in membership and a loss of revenue.

The late June ruling essentially makes state and local government workplaces So Called “Right to Work” sites when present union contracts expire. Some of these workplaces include school, fire departments, police departments, public hospitals and much more.

Under the Abood ruling, workers who were represented by a union, but did not not wish to join that union, did not have to pay union dues because those dues are sometimes used for political expenses. However, many states required these workers to pay “fair share” fees. These fees are used by the union to cover the cost of negotiating contracts and representing members for things such as grievances.

The Janus ruling will now force Unions to provide these services for free, unless  

In the minority opinion were Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Elena Kagan warned that the court’s ruling will have a lasting impact on public-sector workers.

“Today the Court succeeds in its six-year campaign to reverse Abood, its decision will have large scale consequences. Public employee unions will lose a secure source of financial support,” said Kagan in the dissenting opinion.

In its decision to reverse Abood, the Court stated that “fair share” fee violate the first amendment.

“Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bargaining and related activities. We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of non members by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern,” said Justice Alito when delivering the majority opinion.

Learn more about the Northwest Ohio Building Trades’ opposition to So-Called “Right to Work” legislation by clicking here.

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