June 27, 2018

Employees of a state or a political subdivision of a state may not be required to pay an agency-shop fee to a union unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay such a fee

Employees of a state or a political subdivision of a state may not be required to pay an agency-shop fee to a union unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay such a fee
Janus v American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al, 85 U. S. ____ (2018).

Petitioner Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee whose collective bargaining unit is represented by a public-sector union [Union], refused to join the Union because he opposes many of its positions, including those taken by the Union in the course of collective bargaining. Janus, however, was required to pay an "agency shop fee" in lieu of paying "regular dues" to Union. The Governor of Illinois also opposed to many of the Union's positions and attempted to join in the litigation as a plaintiff but was held to "lack standing."

Janus, contending that the state law authorizing agency fees to be paid to a union representing state employees in collective bargaining was unconstitutional, sued the State of Illinois.

The United States Supreme Court held that the State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violated the First Amendment, overruling its earlier decision in Abood v Detroit Board of Education, 431 U. S. 209.

In Abood the high court ruled that an agency shop fee may cover a union's expenditures attributable to those activities “germane” to the union’s collective-bargaining activities, referred to as chargeable expenditures, but may not cover the union’s political and ideological projects, i.e., nonchargeable expenditures.

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Roberts  and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and, Gorsuch joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion and Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg and Breyer and Sotomayor joined.

In the words of the majority, "... States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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