UPDATE (June 27, 2018): In what is being described as the biggest victory for workers’ rights in a generation, the Supreme Court ruled that non-union government workers cannot be required to pay union fees as a condition of working in the public sector. This is a huge victory for First Amendment rights, restoring those rights for millions of government workers across the country. Our country’s police officers, teachers, firefighters and all public employees can no longer be forced to pay for political speech and policy positions that they disagree with. This decision is a culmination of decades-long work in the freedom-based law movement to Rebuild the American Republic.
WASHINGTON, DC (Dec. 6, 2017): Today SLF, joined by The Buckeye Institute, filed a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in Janus v. AFSCME – a case that will determine whether public unions can force non-members to pay “agency shop fees” to support the union’s collective bargaining and activities. For 30 years, courts have allowed the public unions to require non-members to subsidize the very unions they do not want to join or support. These compulsory dues which about to forced exactions continue simply because of stare decisis, a legal doctrine that binds courts to its own precedents.
In Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), the Supreme Court found mandatory agency fees constitutional. The Abood ruling has become very controversial, with the Supreme Court itself calling it into question. The Court was poised to overrule Abood in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. However, the case ended in a tie vote (4-4) after Justice Scalia’s death.
The public unions argue that without the mandatory agency fees they cannot survive. However, as SLF explains in its brief, that is simply not true. A number of states that have recently enacted right-to-work laws have actually seen increases in union membership. This is because stripping unions of their ability to force people to subsidize their activities results in unions that need to prove their value. And as a result, the unions pay better attention to their members needs and overall satisfaction with both their jobs and the union itself. SLF is hopeful that the Court will do now what it should have done many years ago and overrule Abood.
Click here for SLF and Buckeye Institute SCOTUS amicus brief