Labor Union Fees Case Begins In US Supreme Court

In the Janus v. AFSCME case, the petitioner, Mark Janus, argues that union fees charged to non-union public workers are unconstitutional.
Posted at 8:48 AM, Feb 26, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments for the Janus v. AFSCME case Monday. If you've never heard of it, listen up, because the ruling could affect you. 

Here's some context: Right now, in more than 20 states, non-union public workers have to pay a "fair-share" fee to government unions. That's because unions say those workers still get some benefits from the union, like contract bargaining, but they don't pay for it, so they need to pick up the slack somewhere. 

An Empire Center report states that between 2013 and 2016, New York government unions spent more than $43 million lobbying state and local governments. 

Now the petitioner in the case, Mark Janus, says those non-union fees are unconstitutional and violate his First Amendment right to free speech by forcing him to pay non-member fees that the union can then spend supporting a political party he doesn't agree with. 

The unions say people who don't want to be involved in the political spending can opt out by writing an annual letter, but Janus argues that isn't enough. 

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Janus, unions could lose out on millions of dollars, but non-union workers wouldn't have to pay the fair-share fee anymore. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.