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Utah Unions Keeping Close Eye on US Supreme Court's Janus Case

02 March 2018

His case, which is being backed by the anti-union National Right to Work Foundation, is part of a decades-long offensive against labor representation by conservative organizations.

"Workers need protections, sometimes against the very unions that say they have their best interests in mind", said Bowman, who noted that he worked on an assembly line for Ford for 21 years. The unions represent more than 5 million government workers in 24 states and the District of Columbia who could be affected by the outcome.

The justices heard arguments in a challenge to an IL law that allows unions representing government employees to collect fees from workers who choose not to join. These so-called fair share fees cover the costs of collective bargaining and grievance procedures to deal with workplace complaints.

Union-backed protesters held signs saying "America needs union jobs", while those supporting the challengers had signs saying "stand with Mark", a reference to the plaintiff in the case, IL state worker Mark Janus. "I don't oppose the right of workers to organize".

Unions that represent government workers say eliminating the fees requirement would gut unions. He said he opposes his union's fight for wage and benefit increases when the state is "in pretty awful financial condition right now".

During a sometimes-heated session Monday, Supreme Court justices heard arguments on behalf of Mark Janus, an IL child support specialist, who is suing the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. Janus contends that the words of the Abood majority, "There can be no quarrel with the truism that, because public employee unions attempt to influence governmental policymaking, their activities. may be properly termed political". However, Justice Scalia's death between the date of the oral argument and the decision meant that the Court ended up with a 4-4 tie.

A ruling in Janus' favor could end the automatic deduction of union dues from millions of public employees' paychecks, forcing unions like AFSCME to convince workers to voluntarily contribute dues-something workers would do, presumably, only if they have a reason to do so.

In 2014, the Supreme Court said that "except in perhaps the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support".

After a year, Trump holds firm grip on conservative movement
Trump asked. "The Second Amendment or tax cuts?" Trump then shouted each option and allowed the audience to cheer, gauging the crowd's opinion on the matter.

Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's appointee to fill Scalia's seat, has been seen as providing the fifth vote for the conservatives, but he was uncharacteristically quiet during Monday's argument.

Unions had also lobbied heavily against Gorsuch's confirmation by the Senate a year ago. Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court last spring, and has yet to weigh in on the matter.

Now Gorsuch is on the bench.

An Empire Center report states that between 2013 and 2016, NY government unions spent more than $43 million lobbying state and local governments.

Kreisberg replied, "I'm not sure if he doesn't agree with it, or just simply doesn't want to pay because he'd like to get those services for free".

Three Nobel Prize-winning economists and 33 other scholars described the potential fallout as a classic free-rider problem.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner launched the lawsuit challenging the forced fees as unconstitutional, and Janus became the plaintiff after a court dropped the governor from the case because he did not have personal legal standing to fight the fees.

Pennsylvania is one of 22 states in which public sector unions bargain for both the members and non-members.

Utah Unions Keeping Close Eye on US Supreme Court's Janus Case