10:21, June 27 230 0 theguardian.com

2018-06-27 10:21:03
Supreme court strikes blow against unions with 'fair share' ruling

The supreme court dealt a huge blow to organized labor on Wednesday, ruling that non-union members no longer have to pay their “fair share” for union representation in collective bargaining negotiations.

The closely watched case – Janus v AFSCME – could permanently weaken public unions, according to some experts, and will impact public sector employees in 22 states.

Rightwing activists are preparing a nationwide drive to persuade public-sector trade unions to stop paying dues following the decision.

The case was brought by Mark Janus, a child support specialist at the Illinois department of healthcare and family services. Janus is represented by the AFSCME union. Although he is not a union member, 78% of full union dues are deducted from his paycheck.

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Non-union public sector workers in more than 20 states pay unions for collective bargaining and unions in those states will lose fees from hundreds of thousands of nonmembers as a result.

The ruling overturns a 1977 supreme court decision, Abood v Detroit board of education, which ruled that public sector unions could charge non-members fees for “collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes”.

That decision – which conservative groups have made several attempts to overturn – argued the fees were necessary for union stability but also ruled unions could not compel non-members to pay for union expenditures relating to “political and ideological purposes unrelated to collective bargaining”.

But Janus argued Abood violates his right to free speech as unions enter into collective bargaining agreements with the government, and all of their activity should be seen as political.

A similar case, Friedrichs v California Teachers Association, went resulted in a 4-4 split decision following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Union activists feared they could lose the Janus case following Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the court.

More details soon...