Last month’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees hit public-sector unions like a bombshell.
Now that public-sector unions can no longer extract union fees from workers who want nothing to do with them, public unions will have to work harder to provide services that will prompt workers to join their ranks.
The question explored in the Janus case was whether or not forcing non-members to pay union dues violates their First Amendment rights. That issue was addressed narrowly as a matter of free speech, but more broadly it had much to do with wrongful coercion.
Both members and non-members of public-sector unions can opt out of paying the portion of dues that explicitly goes to the union’s political activities. But, until recently, non-members could still be forced by law to pay what was called a “fair share” fee, because even non-members could receive the benefits of union representation (since unions have a monopoly on worker-employer negotiations).