Janus v. AFSCME

The News-Gazette: Illinois man at heart of Supreme Court case continues fight

In the 10 months since the U.S. Supreme Court restored workers' rights and affirmed the tenets of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, more than 210,000 public employees across the country no longer are being forced to pay fees to unions they don't support.

They can thank Illinois' Mark Janus and others like him for their newfound freedom.

While hundreds of thousands have been freed from paying these unconstitutional fees, many unions still are making it as difficult as possible for workers to exercise their rights.

Home » Opinion » Columns

Dan McCaleb | Illinois man at heart of Supreme Court case continues fight

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 7:00am | Dan McCaleb

In the 10 months since the U.S. Supreme Court restored workers' rights and affirmed the tenets of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, more than 210,000 public employees across the country no longer are being forced to pay fees to unions they don't support.

They can thank Illinois' Mark Janus and others like him for their newfound freedom.

Janus was a former child support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He was forced to pay AFSCME Council 31 a part of his salary for 10 years, even though he declined to join the union and disagreed with the union's politics — including their collective-bargaining position of demanding huge pay increases from a state that is broke.

Union advocates maintained the dues Janus was forced to pay to AFSCME were his "fair share" for the wages and benefits the union negotiated on his behalf.

And for 40 years, a legal precedent set by the Supreme Court in 1977 had backed the unions.

But Janus wasn't satisfied with the precedent. He felt strongly that his First Amendment rights guaranteeing his freedom to associate with whom he wanted — or not to associate with a union he wanted no part of — were being violated.

So he joined a lawsuit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Last June, the Supreme Court agreed with him and struck down forced union fees as unconstitutional.

Since then, more than 210,000 Americans who were being forced to pay these fees to two of the largest public-sector unions no longer are paying.

That statistic is based on analysis from U.S. Department of Labor reports released last week.

"These numbers are an incredible confirmation of what we argued during my case: that all across the country, hundreds of thousands of government workers like me were forced against their will to give money to government unions, just so they could keep their jobs," Janus said. "That's why the decision in my case is so powerful. It freed these workers, and each of the 5 million public-sector workers in America, from mandatory union fees."

Janus left his state of Illinois job shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

He now is a senior fellow with the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center, which represented him during his lawsuit against the forced fees. Janus and the rest of the LJC team continue their fight for workers' rights.

While hundreds of thousands have been freed from paying these unconstitutional fees, many unions still are making it as difficult as possible for workers to exercise their rights.

The Liberty Justice Center, for example, is representing two University of California system workers who resigned from their unions and opted out of paying union fees in the wake of Janus vs. AFSCME.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision, the workers say the university continues to deduct these fees. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon and elsewhere.

"Unfortunately, thousands more government workers are facing obstacles exercising their Janus rights," Janus said. "My fight on their behalf will continue until all government workers can easily exercise their right to choose whether to support a union or not."

National Review runs feature story on Mark Janus

National Review features Mark Janus in their March issue. Meet Mark Janus, the man who ended compulsory union dues.

He asked the Supreme Court to acknowledge his First Amendment rights, and it did.

An average guy, provoked enough, can accomplish things that are above average.

Mark Janus is such a guy. Provoked by what he believed was a bald violation of his First Amendment rights, he took action to see them protected. And he prevailed. Big time, as an average guy might say.

Albuquerque Journal: Janus supports New Mexico workers’ right to work

The state House late Friday approved a bill that would bar counties in New Mexico from enforcing local “right-to-work” ordinances. The proposal would stipulate that only the state government could establish a law barring labor unions from collecting fees from nonunion members in unionized workplaces.

USA Today: Supreme Court’s Janus v AFSCME ruling will force unions to be more accountable

Teacher op-ed: As a teacher in Minnesota, I didn’t have a choice about whether or not to pay the union that was supposed to represent me, and when my union ultimately failed to stand by my side during a dispute with my district, I had no choice but to continue paying it.

Fox News: In Janus ruling, Supreme Court restores free speech rights to public workers like me

Teacher op-ed: In my home state of Alaska, teachers and other public employees are forced to pay fees to unions they didn’t choose to represent them, in order to hold the jobs they love.

Before moving to Alaska, I was a teacher in Idaho, a right-to-work state, where membership in a union is a choice. I chose not to belong.

Sun Times: Janus decision biggest victory for workers’ rights in a generation

The United States Supreme Court has just delivered the biggest victory for workers’ rights in a generation. The case is Janus v. AFSCME. The plaintiff is Mark Janus, a child-support specialist who works for the state of Illinois. And I’m proud that the litigation firm of which I am president, the Liberty Justice Center, represented Mark in this landmark case.

Washington Examiner: Supreme Court's Janus ruling finally gives a voice to 5M workers

The government can no longer force its employees to pay a union as a condition of their employment. That’s what the Supreme Court decided on Wednesday in the case Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

This decision is life-changing for about 5 million government workers in 22 states, who have been forced to give part of every paycheck to a government union just to do their jobs.

Illinois State Government Stops Collecting "Fair Share" Fees for AFSCME, Other Government Worker Unions

The state will stop deducting agency fees from workers who have opted out of the union, effective immediately.

As of June 27, the state of Illinois will no longer deduct union agency fees from the paychecks of nonmember public employees. Previously, Illinois workers were forced to pay fees to government unions as a condition of their employment.

Democrat and Chronicle: What the Janus decision means in New York, the nation's most unionized state

ALBANY - The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that unions cannot collect fees from non-members could have wide implications across New York, which has the nation’s most heavily unionized public sector.

Unions in New York derided the groundbreaking decision by the closely divided Supreme Court as it may weaken their membership, but business groups and union critics applauded the measure. New York's labor leaders said they will work hard to encourage public workers to continue to pay all fees and dues.

New York has the highest percentage of union workers in the nation.

Daily Signal: Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Union Fees for Government Employees

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that nonunion government workers can’t be forced to pay dues or other fees to support a union, further diminishing the power of organized labor and setting up what right-to-work proponents called the “hard work” of protecting free speech rights for the nation’s government employees.

Right-to-work advocates also expressed concern about what they see as ongoing conflicts of interest between public employee unions and the government officials whom those same unions help elect into positions of influence over union contracts negotiated at taxpayer expense.

Supreme Court Rules Public Employees Are Not Required to Fund Unions in Big Win for First Amendment Rights

In a landmark decision for First Amendment rights, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that public employees cannot be compelled to pay union fees as a condition of employment. The 5-4 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME restores the First Amendment rights of freedom of association and free speech to more than five million government employees nationwide.

The ruling appears to require that employers of “fair share” fee payers must stop deducting fees immediately until they have affirmative consent from the employees to do so.  Center of the American Experiment estimates that 10,000 or more public employees who pay fair share fees will immediately see an increase in their paycheck with the end of forced union fees.

Fox News: Supreme Court’s Janus decision is a win for government workers (and all Americans)

In its 5-4 ruling Wednesday in Janus vs. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), the Supreme Court overturned decades-old precedent that allowed government unions to require public employees to pay union fees or risk being fired.

Now millions of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other government employees across the country gain the freedom to decide if paying a union is a worthwhile proposition. This is how it should have always been – no one should be forced to finance an organization he or she disagrees with

Reuters: Some U.S. States Embrace Pro-Union Laws, With Key Fees Imperiled

Anticipating a setback at the U.S. Supreme Court, several labor-friendly states passed Democratic-backed laws in recent months intended to protect a vital source of money for unions that was imperiled under a major ruling by the justices on Wednesday.

At least six states have passed laws, some making it harder for non-union workers to stop paying the fees and others making it easier for unions to sign up new members, and more are expected elsewhere.

Washington Examiner: Supreme Court decision puts workers in driver’s seat

Teacher op-ed: What could you do with an extra $14,000? Buy a new car? Put a down payment on a home? Build your child’s college fund? I can think of many ways to spend this, but unfortunately, I had no choice but to hand it over to a union simply because I’m a public school teacher in Ohio, where people can be fired for not paying money to a union.

Predicting the future of teachers' unions after Janus

What will happen to teachers' unions in a world without agency fees? One large, internal union poll found that without agency fees, 35 percent of its members would remain in the union, 15 percent would leave, and fully 50 percent were undecided. Teachers' unions are expecting membership losses after Janus, but the future of one of the country's most powerful interest groups depends on whether declines are closer to 15 or 65 percent.

Capital Public Radio: Teacher Who Challenged Union Speaks Out About US Supreme Court Case

Rebecca Friedrichs is a teacher and was the lead plaintiff challenging the California Teachers Association's "agency shop" arrangement, She joins Insight to explain why she decided to file her lawsuit and challenged the CTA all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.