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Supreme Court Deals Blow to Government Unions in Janus

Mark Janus addresses the news media outside the Supreme Court in Washington, February 26, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to organized labor on Wednesday, ruling that public-sector unions cannot charge non-members dues for collective bargaining.

In a 5–4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court struck down an Illinois law requiring that public-sector employees who choose not to join a union “pay their proportionate share of the costs of the collective bargaining process, contract administration and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours and other conditions of employment.”

“States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees,” read the decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito.

About half of states have laws similar to the Illinois one, so the Court’s ruling has wide-ranging implications.

The plaintiff in the case, child-support specialist Mark Janus, works for the Illinois state government, and brought suit claiming that he disagrees with his union’s positions and should not be forced to make payments to it.

President Trump quickly lauded the decision, calling it a “big loss for the coffers of the Democrats.”

Government unions had argued that members are already allowed refunds for money spent on political causes, and that non-members should not benefit from collective-bargaining negotiations without paying for them. The decision is expected to cost organized labor millions of dollars in funding.

NOW WATCH: ‘Janus v. AFSCME: What’s Next for Teacher’s Unions?’

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