US Supreme Court will hear public sector dues case

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

However, the organizations representing Janus have said they intend to ask a new conservative-majority court to overturn the existing precedent first established in the Supreme Court's 1977 ruling in Abood v Detroit Board of Education, which had allowed the collection of the so-called "fair share" fees.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation he says would restrict workers in deciding whether to join a union.

At that time, nine California teachers challenged the requirement because they object to paying for what they call the political side of the collective bargaining work.

Justices granted plaintiffs' request for a hearing in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31-a challenge of an IL law requiring public sector employees to pay agency fees that fund collective bargaining.

In a case expected to be argued in December involving free speech, religious liberty and gay rights, the justices will weigh whether a Denver-area baker who cited his Christian beliefs in refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple can be penalized for violating a Colorado anti-discrimination law.

The more liberal justices believe the fees should be a matter left to individual states and how they deal with their public sector unions.

A similar case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, landed in a 4-4 deadlock previous year when the Supreme Court didn't have a full bench following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

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"We're obviously very pleased with the news", Patrick Semmens, vice president for public information at the National Right to Work Foundation, told Bloomberg BNA shortly after the high court granted certiorari in the case. And I shouldn't be forced to pay money to a union if I don't think it does a good job representing my interests.

It was one of 11 cases the justices added to the court's docket from the roughly 2,000 petitions seeking review that had piled up during the court's summer break. If Janus prevails, public-sector unions, which have been the strongest part of the USA labor movement, will find themselves financially weakened.

The Supreme Court on Monday canceled arguments that had been scheduled for October 10 in what would have been the biggest case of the term, whether Trump's ban on people entering the United States from several Muslim-majority countries amounted to unconstitutional discrimination against Muslims. The child-support specialist says that forcing him to pay union fees violates his First Amendment rights. In 2014, the Court skirted the issue by deciding that the employees in question, home health aides paid by Illinois' Medicaid system, weren't "full-fledged" public employees who could be required to pay dues.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) also submitted a legal brief to the court July 10 arguing that unions often use forced union dues to pay for conferences and conventions, where many activities are political in nature. Under state laws permitting these arrangements, those employees who choose not to join a union are compelled to pay a service fee to finance union collective bargaining, contract administration, or grievance adjustment expenditures.

A federal appeals court in Chicago rejected Janus' claim in March. Union membership in the public sector has generally been much higher than in private industry.

A federal judge tossed out the governor's suit and said he had no standing to sue because he did not pay the fees.

Friedrichs, libertarian groups, and a group of states led by MI also filed briefs urging the court to take Janus's case.

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