On the other hand, total union membership density (10.7 percent) has been propped up by the fairly steady union density among public sector employees, most recently 34.4 percent in 2016-more than five times the private sector rate. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to its docket. Lead plaintiff Mark Janus filed the lawsuit alongside two other IL state workers.
“Every union-represented teacher, police officer, caregiver or other public service worker may choose whether or not to join the union – but the union is required to negotiate on behalf of all workers whether they join or not”, AFSCME noted July 7.
AFSCME characterized the legal effort as “blatantly political”, and says overturning the legal precedent set in 1977 by a unanimous decision in a case known as Abood will cause both political and economic turmoil. In 2016, a suit brought by California teachers was nearly universally expected to produce a full-on reversal of the 1977 holding, but the death of Justice Antonin Scalia left the Court deadlocked 4-4 on the case, leaving a circuit court decision in favor of the union in place.
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch called for tolerance of diverse viewpoints while protesters outside criticized his appearance Thursday night at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.
Research hasn’t shown any conclusive impact of unionized teachers on student achievement, but in districts where they are not, compensation tends to be less and pay more tied to performance.
The Illinois case involves Mark Janus, a state employee who says Illinois law violates his free speech rights by requiring him to pay fees to subsidize AFSCME, which represents tens of thousands of Illinois workers.
The challengers in the new case, Janus v. It will likely prove to be one of the most consequential labor-law cases in US history. Unions tend to support Democrats in elections, although agency fees are not used for political activities.
“This gives the Supreme Court the opportunity to rule on the question on whether the government on any level can force it’s employees to pay toward a union to keep their jobs.” said Jacob Huebert, the head attorney on the case. Rauner asked a federal court to declare the fees unconstitutional and support his authority to issue the order. Thus workers who object to their unions’ political activities can pay “agency fees”, which are significantly less than full union dues. Employer representatives and conservative lawmakers have said that the fees are an infringement on the speech rights of workers who don’t want to associate with a union and the political positions unions often take.
That last point was one stressed by Justice Elena Kagan in a 2014 decision, Harris v. Quinn, a case about home-health workers in IL.
Such a decision would overrule the 40-year-old Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
The decision, due by next June, could prove a costly setback for public-sector unions in 22 states, where such fees are authorized by law. States that have right-to-work protections have outlawed the practice of mandatory dues or fees. The other – which is yet to be scheduled – would undermine the power of workers to bargain collectively through unions. Federal employee unions can not collect such fees. So it is my hope that when Whitford v. Gill goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, party politics will be the last thing on their mind.
A clear ruling from the high court has the potential to seriously disrupt the underlying model for unions representing public workers.