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On Monday, February 26th the Supreme Court will hear Oral Arguments yesterday in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. This case is based on the union’s requirement forcing government employees to pay union fees to an exclusive representative for speaking and contracting with the government over policies that affect their profession.
The Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court to free Government employees from these forced union dues. The White House believes these dues are a violation of First Amendment rights, are thus unconstitutional and should be done away with. A “security fee” was required of Janus under terms of his employment.
The Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued that unions take certain political positions. These positions may differ with an employee’s personal belief, thereby requiring members be forced to “subsidize” viewpoints they may not agree with.
While studies suggest most union members wouldn’t pay dues if given the option. Unions argue that they are owed fees to compensate for their collective bargaining on behalf of the workers. Union leaders are on edge over this case as they believe it would undermine their efforts and cripple them financially. There was another union case last session that ended in a 4-4 deadlock due to the passing of Justice Scalia.
To learn more about the history of the Supreme Court and its interactions with and the shaping of Labor Unions we recommend Julius Getman’s book The Supreme Court on Unions