Mark Janus, a child-support specialist working under the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services filed a suit for highlighting the violation of the First Amendment. He was charged $45 every month from his paycheck for going to the local branch of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is the union that represents Janus. He argued that such deduction for being a part of a collective bargaining violates the First Amendment Rights as it is curbing his right to free speech by being a part of an union that discuss on issues like salaries, benefits, pensions for the government employees (Weiss) .
The issue of this case is to determine whether the fees deducted for being a part of a union is violating the First Amendment (Ring et al.).
Under the US Labour Law, a worker who is being represented by a union may prefer not to be a part of it or not to pay the membership fee. However, the union is under the obligation to represent every employee equally in case of a collective bargaining situation. For the last 40 years, workers have been forced to pay the fees for being covered by collective bargaining ("Opinion Analysis: Court Strikes Down Public-Sector Union Fees (Updated) - Scotusblog"). On the other hand, the Supreme Court had delivered a contrary judgment in the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) where it said that the dues that are collected from the workers to cover their collective bargaining procedures was for the union’s use to boost their activities regarding contract administration, grievance administration and collective bargaining. The court had held that it did not violate the First Amendment Rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.
While, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot make laws for restricting religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, right to assemble peacefully and the right to demand remedy for grievances.
The Court ruled against the defendant party, AFSCME and held that the ‘agency-shop’ agreement violates the freedom of free speech of the non-members of the union as they are compelled to pay a fee to be covered under collective bargaining, as this might stop them from taking the help of the union for getting redressal of their grievances. However, the dissenting judgment on the case had held that the Abood decision had maintained a balance between the government entities and the First Amendment rights of the public employees for the past 40 years. On this matter, a teacher’s union held that if the court removed the policy of incurring fees from the non-members, the union will be permanently crippled, for they would lose membership and revenue which would affect the agenda of affecting adverse government policies for the benefit of the workers .
The US Supreme Court held that the government employees are free from paying union dues, even for being covered by collective bargaining procedures.
"Opinion Analysis: Court Strikes Down Public-Sector Union Fees (Updated) - Scotusblog". Scotusblog, 2018, https://www.scotusblog.com/2018/06/opinion-analysis-court-strikes-down-public-sector-union-fees/. Accessed 6 Dec 2018.
"Unpacking The Janus Decision". Forbes.Com, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/briankmiller/2018/06/27/unpacking-the-janus-decision/#697b896c41a4. Accessed 6 Dec 2018.
Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977)
Ring, Edward et al. "The Dust Has Cleared, So It’S Time To Analyze Janus Based On Reality Rather Than Rhetoric | California Policy Center". California Policy Center, 2018, https://californiapolicycenter.org/the-dust-has-cleared-so-its-time-to-analyze-janus-based-on-reality-rather-than-rhetoric/. Accessed 6 Dec 2018.
Weiss, Debra. "Supreme Court Rules Mandatory Union Dues Violate Free Speech Rights Of Public Employees". ABA Journal, 2018, https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/supreme_court_rules_mandatory_union_dues_violate_free_speech_rights_of_publ. Accessed 6 Dec 2018.