Unions have been on borrowed time for quite a while. As the economy moved away from heavy industry and relatively low skilled labor, the last bastion of Union Strength became the one area they should never have been tolerated in: Public Sector (i.e. government employees) Unions. Even there they are losing membership and retain their wealth and political influence via their ability to charge agency fees to non-members. That just ended.
- The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.
- The case concerns whether public employees can be forced to pay so-called agency fees to fund the work of public sector unions.
- Experts said that a holding in favor of Janus would be the most significant court decision affecting collective bargaining rights in decades.
By Tucker Higgins, CNBC
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Wednesday in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.
Janus, an employee at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, asked the court last summer to overrule a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision. It found that public sector unions could require employees affected by their negotiations to pay so-called “agency fees,” which have also been called “fair share fees.”
Those fees, approved by the court in the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, cover collective bargaining costs, such as contract negotiations, but are meant to exclude political advocacy.
Janus argued that his $45 monthly fee to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees was unconstitutional. He said the fees infringed on his first amendment rights, and that, in the case of public employees whose contract negotiations are with the government, the fees were a form of political advocacy.
The Government was, in effect, forcing their employees to financially support an organization which existed to lobby government. No more. Absent these funds taken by force from non-members the Public Sector Unions will rapidly lose money and political influence.
Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt viewed public sector unions as pernicious:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.