US Supreme Court Justices Clash Over Mandatory Union Fees

US Supreme Court Justices Clash Over Mandatory Union Fees

US Supreme Court Justices Clash Over Mandatory Union Fees

The court on Monday heard oral arguments in the case of Janus vs. AFSCME. American Federation of State, County and Municipality Employees, is the third time in recent years that the high court has sought to reexamine union fees charged to nonmembers who work on union contracts.

But the court heard a similar case previous year, and it came down 4-4 after Justice Antonin Scalia died.

Such a shift would cost unions both the fees of workers who oppose it and those "union supporters who may think I'd rather keep the money in my own pocket", Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

When the state of IL and the union's lawyers made their arguments, the more conservative justices took the lead - with Kennedy vigorously and repeatedly taking aim at the fees and the public sector unions' aims more broadly.

"If we can permit the government as employer to do something as dramatic as firing someone", asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor, how can the government not be permitted to require them to pay "a fair share fee"?

Warren said during the rally that it is essential to argue for workers' rights against long-term attacks by corporations against unions and workers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled against Janus.

Janus, a child care support specialist who has worked for the state of IL for about 11 years, objects to paying his so-called Hudson Notice fees which are equivalent to about 78% of union dues.

Union-backed protesters held signs saying "America needs union jobs", while those supporting the challengers had signs saying "stand with Mark", a reference to the plaintiff in the case, IL state worker Mark Janus. "Isn't that the end of the case?" He said the state has a strong-enough interest in negotiating with a single, empowered union to overcome any of the employees' free-speech concerns.

The two best diets for heart disease prevention
The researchers wanted to find out if the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet could be more at reducing the risk of heart disease. The researchers found participants on either diet lost about 3 pounds of body fat and about 4 pounds of weight overall.

AFSCME International President Lee Saunders came to the Boston rally from Washington, D.C., and said the case has nothing to do with free speech-and that his opponents can "go straight to hell".

Janus v. AFSCME contests and hopes to overturn the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision which requires public workers to pay agency fees to unions, even if they are not members of said union. In those states, public employee unions argue that because even non-members working for the government benefit from union activities, such as collective bargaining, those people should be required to pay fees to cover such services.

More than a decade later, the disagreement over that fee has brought Janus before the U.S. Supreme Court, as the plaintiff in a case that could change the landscape of public sector unionism in the United States.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said wealthy conservative business interests are behind the legal challenge.

"We're out here to let "big money" know that we're not going to sit back and let them dictate to us and do whatever they want", he said.

According to the Department of Labor, 20 percent of the workforce in the state are union members. With the arrival of Scalias replacement, constitutionalist Justice Neil Gorsuch, the days of forced unionism for public employees may be numbered. Frederick, a former law firm colleague of the justice, made an originalism appeal on the unions' behalf, borrowing a typically conservative argument that judges should look to what the Constitution meant when it was written.

But Justice Samuel Alito, who has written two opinions attacking fair share fees, said Frederick's argument was "something I thought I would never see in a brief filed by a public employee union".

Related news