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Attorney: Unions misrepresenting impact of 'Janus'

Attorney: Unions misrepresenting impact of 'Janus'

Justices of the Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a case that could deal a major blow to the political power of public employee unions. A statement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) calls it "largest national day of public sector workplace actions to ever take place in America". American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a case pitting the First Amendment claims of dissenting employees against the interests of public-sector unions.

The AFSCME political contributions go nearly exclusively to Democrats. The unions, meanwhile, would still be bound to represent union and non-union members - albeit without the financial support provided by fees.

Justice Neil Gorsuch was appointed by Pres. Donald Trump to replace Scalia and Hebert believes he'll stick with his fellow conservatives, which could have some far reaching repercussions. For example, in 1983 it held that "speech on public issues occupies the 'highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.'" In 2014, the court said it is a "bedrock principle that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support".

Cost "could be considerable." . The fees are usually significantly more than half of - sometimes up to 100 percent of - union dues. Smith, who teaches Capital Law School in OH, noted that Janus was paying about $600 a year in agency fees.

Smith said IL has about 40,000 similarly situated public employees. Unions in New York State have estimated the total potential impact at $50 million a year.

Girardin looked at what happened after MI enacted a "right to work" law, which forbid mandatory agency fees. While dues do not directly finance union political operations, Janus-like cases filed around the country have argued that dues - even "fair-share" payments - amount to a First Amendment violation.

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Third time's a charm? . In about two months, the union estimates its members have knocked on 11,000 doors, sharing stories about how the union has helped them and hoping to convince teachers to keep financially supporting the work, even if the courts decide they're no longer required to. In America's 27 right-to-work states, employees can not be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.

It is unknown how disruptive a ruling against AFSCME would be.

"If you're in a non-right-to-work state, like OH, you don't have a choice", he said. The supposed constitutionality of this compelled speech rests on the fiction that these fees pay only the costs of collective bargaining, from which the fee payers benefit.

Smith said states that recently have adopted right-to-work laws allowing private sector workers to opt out of union membership, such as Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma, have not experienced a rapid decline in membership. The union recently voted down a resolution to support Black Lives Matter after leadership said it was a divisive issue at a time when the union can't afford to lose members, according to an NY1 report.

Unions are technically forbidden from using the agency fees to fund political activities, such as donations to the lawmakers and other state elected officials overseeing the agencies in which they work and with whom they negotiate.


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