Throughout the US, public sector employee unions are responding to the summer 2018 ruling in “Janus.” This ruling, and its history is relatively important- so much so, that we’ve developed a whole section of content related to three cases that have shaped union representation in the public section.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1977 (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education) that states could require workers who are not union members to pay so-called agency fees in support of representation activities. A following case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, sought to strike down the requirement of California and more than 20 other states that public employees fund the union that bargains on their behalf even if they aren’t members of the union.
In the recently tried case, the issue was similar: Are Mark Janus’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and association violated when government requires him, an employee, to pay “fair share” or “agency” fees to a private entity, a labor union, to which government has given exclusive power to represent him, although he chooses not to be a member? Janus argues that an exclusive representative “is indistinguishable from a government-appointed lobbyist.” He argued the fees are usually significantly more than half of — sometimes up to 100 percent of — union dues. The court ruled in favor of Mark Janus; subsequently, unions like MGEC could no longer collect fees from individuals who were not union members.
We’d encourage you to read Mark Janus’ Washington Post editorial (July 1, 2018) on the case following the Supreme Court decision.
His case, in part, argued that unions were overly successful in bargaining for salary, health care, pensions, and benefits- and that governments were being stretched beyond their ability to afford the agreements. Take a look at the attached links for further details.