Supreme Court Strikes Down Union-Shop Provisions in Public Sector, Unlikely to Follow Suit in Private Sector
June 27, 2018
Authored by: Anthony George
On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a 41-year-old legal precedent to hold that states may not compel public employees to contribute any money to the labor union that represents them. In Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, the Court held that public employees have a First Amendment right not to contribute money to a labor union and that states have no compelling interest sufficient to overcome that free speech right.
The plaintiff in that case was an Illinois state employee represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31. He refused to join that union because he opposed many of the positions that the union advocated, including positions that the union took in collective bargaining. But Illinois, like many states, requires public employees represented by a union to pay an “agency fee” consisting of the portion of union dues (in this case 78%) that