Major Defeat to Labor Unions, SCOTUS Rules 5-4 Against Forced Fees to Government Workers … Free Speech Wins
ANOTHER SCOTUS WIN FOR CONSERVATIVES …
Yesterday, the Supreme Court dealt a major blow to labor unions ruling 5-4 that state government workers cannot be forced to pay “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union interests. Imagine that, employees are not compelled to have their free speech dictated by a union. This decision is said to affect 5 million government employees in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Writing the dissent for the court’s four liberal members, Associate Justice Elena Kagan said the majority succeeded in its “crusade” by “turning the First Amendment into a sword.” Sorry Libs, why wouldn’t this be a choice matter? Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined Kagan. Those in the majority, Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch. The majority overturned the high court’s four-decade-old precedent, known as the “Abood” case from 1977.
The key plaintiff was Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, who pays about $550 annually to the powerful public-sector union known as AFSCME. While not a member of the union, he is required under state law to hand over a weekly portion of his paycheck, which he says is a violation of his constitutional rights. How can anyone not see that this was a violation of one’s First Amendment rights not to have compelled speech?
In a major legal and political defeat for big labor, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that state government workers cannot be forced to pay so-called “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities.
The conservative majority said a union’s contract negotiations over pay and benefits were inextricably linked with its broader political activities, and concluded workers had a limited constitutional right not to underwrite such “speech.” The case specifically examined union fees paid by non-members.
“This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a non-member’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”
While the current case applies only to public-sector employees, the political and financial stakes are potentially huge for the broader American labor union movement, which had been sounding the alarm about the legal fight.
The unions say 5 million government employees in 24 states and the District of Columbia would be affected by this ruling.
The majority overturned the high court’s four-decade-old precedent — known as the “Abood” decision — dealing with so-called “agency” fees, allowing states to require public employees to pay money supporting collective bargaining and other union activities.
Watch Mark Janus on his Supreme Court battle against Big Labor from Feb. 2018