Unions take a hit from SCOTUSLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Unions take a hit from SCOTUS

WASHINGTON — A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court delivered a major blow to organized labor Wednesday, ruling public sector unions cannot charge non-members fees to cover collective bargaining costs.

The 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME overturns a 41-year-old Supreme Court precedent and hands conservatives who seek to break unions a big victory.

Charging the non-members the fees violates their First Amendment right to free speech, Judge Samuel A. Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

“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,” Alito wrote. “We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

The case involves Mark Janus, an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services employee, who asked the high court forbid public sector unions from collecting the “fair-share” fees. Janus argued being forced to pay his $45 monthly fee violated his First Amendment free speech rights because of union negotiations with government amount to political advocacy.

Wednesday’s decision reverses the 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education ruling, which stipulated non-union members can be compelled to pay fees to cover collective bargaining costs but not political advocacy.

Unions say the decision will affect more than 5 million employees nationwide.

The American Federal of State, County, and Municipal Employees attacked the decision, saying in a statement: “It is shameful that the billionaire CEOs and corporate special interests behind this case have succeeded in manipulating the highest court in the land to do their bidding. This case was nothing more than a blatant political attack to further rig our economy and democracy against everyday Americans in favor of the wealthy and powerful.”

President Donald Trump backed the decision almost immediately, tweeting:

This article is republished with permisssion from Talk Media News.


About the author

Gary Gately

Gary Gately, a seasoned journalist, has won 15 national, regional and local awards for reporting and writing news, investigative, public service, feature, business and travel pieces. Gately’s work has been published by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun (where he worked in reporting and editing jobs for 11 years), Baltimore Examiner, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Newsweek, Arrive Magazine, The Center for Public Integrity, CBSNews.com, CNBC.com, ABCNews.com, USAToday.com, HealthDay, The Crime Report, United Press International and numerous other newspapers, websites and magazines. His coverage has received awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Society of American Travel Writers (first-place Lowell Thomas Award for best newspaper travel story/U.S.-Canada (immigrant New York). Gately also has extensive experience editing for newspapers and websites, has taught college journalism courses in news writing, magazine writing and travel writing and is the author of Maryland: Anthem to Innovation, a book on the state's history, industries and attractions. Contact the author.
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