In a 5-4 vote, The Supreme Court ruled against labor unions in a case that struck down a law that required non-union workers to pay fees that go towards collective bargaining.
The case was from an Illinois Law–a fair share fee. The ruling was 5-4 along partisan lines, with conservative Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority which reverses more than 40-years of precedent.
Here is a copy of the 83-page decision: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf.
The case was brought forward by Petitioner Mark Janus is a state employee whose unit is represented by a public-sector union (Union), one of the respondents. He refused to join the Union because he opposes many of its positions, including those taken in collective bargaining.
According to the decision, the Supreme Court said forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concerns.
The court also ruled:
Shortly after the announcement, US Senator Kamala Harris issued the following statement:
“Our country’s success depends on the right of all workers – including teachers, firefighters, peace officers and nurses – to collectively negotiate fair wages, benefits and protections. The Court’s decision today undermines the basic American premise, held up by courts for more than four decades, that if a union represents all employees in negotiating and administering a collective bargaining agreement, then all employees ought to share the costs of that representation.
“We also cannot ignore that this decision is part of an ongoing trend of the Roberts Court that has repeatedly sided with employers over employees, corporations over consumers, and special interests over vulnerable Americans. Congress must act to bolster the American labor movement that built the middle class of this country. It is up to all of us to fight to protect the ability of working families to make a living wage and pursue the American dream now more than ever.”
California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra also issued a statement:
“We are disappointed in today’s ruling in Janus, a case about defending the interests of working people,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The U.S. Supreme Court is threatening the ability of workers to engage in collective bargaining and of states to manage our workforce. Even in the face of this challenge, workers in California can count on our office to defend collective bargaining rights and to stand up for fair pay, workplace safety, pensions, paid sick days, health-care services and other important protections. We will not back down in the fight to protect working families and to ensure that the voices of California’s workers are heard.”
Earlier this year, Attorney General Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case. In the brief, the Attorney General described the critical role public employees in California make to the economy and our communities. California’s police officers, teachers and first responders deliver critical services to California’s 40 million residents. The use of mandatory agency fees to support collective bargaining with public employers provides important benefits without improperly burdening individual interests.