Nicole Rice

Supreme Court Rules on Janus vs. AFSCME

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, July 2, 2018

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court overturned a 41-year-old precedent and ruled that public employees cannot be forced to pay dues or fees to a union they have not chosen to join.  Public employee unions in 22 states, including California, charge workers who are represented by the union, but prefer not to be associated with the unions’ political or ideological positions, what is known as “fair share” or “agency” fees as part of the public employee contracts to cover only contract-related union functions and not for political activities.

However, citing the First Amendment, the Supreme Court inJanus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)ruled that even charging workers that smaller prorated fee infringed upon their free-speech rights.  Consequently, unions across the nation, including California, could lose tens of millions of dollars, as there will be no incentive for workers to pay for collective-bargaining representation.

The California Legislature seems poised to respond legislatively to this anticipated ruling, having introduced several non-substantive bills (also known as “spot” bills) earlier this year.  Exactly what that response will be is still unclear but we expect to see proposals arise when the Legislature returns from its month-long recess in August.

More information HERE.

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