Finance

Gorsuch seen as decider in union fees case

Gorsuch seen as decider in union fees case

Both laws were backed heavily by public unions at the time and required them to represent both members and nonmembers. Justice Clarence Thomas didn't speak but he is expected to rule against the unions.

Amid colorful, occasionally angry comments from his colleagues, Justice Neil Gorsuch asked no questions during the hourlong session.

IL government worker Mark Janus says he has a free-speech right not to pay the union that represents all employees, not just its members, in collective bargaining. More than half the states already have right-to-work laws banning mandatory fees, but most members of public-employee unions are concentrated in states that don't, including California, New York, and IL.

Janus doesn't want to be forced to pay for something he doesn't agree with.

"Those are really important benefits to me, and if we didn't collectively bargain for those, I wouldn't have them right now". And the groups say workers have a constitutional right not to associate themselves with that speech.

The court on Monday heard oral arguments in the case of Janus vs. AFSCME.

"Those contracts probably cover millions, maybe up to over 10 million workers", the liberal justice said.

"When have we ever done something like that?" Backed by the Trump administration, those advocates say public-sector unions are engaging in political speech when they negotiate with the government.

"Let's face it, not everybody wants to be in the union", he said. On Monday, all eyes were on Scalia's replacement, Gorsuch, who could cast the deciding vote, but he stayed silent.

More than a decade later, the disagreement over that fee has brought Janus before the U.S. Supreme Court, as the plaintiff in a case that could change the landscape of public sector unionism in the United States.

"When you compel somebody to speak, don't you infringe that person's dignity and conscience in a way that you do not when you restrict what the person says?"

Pamela Rall-Johnston, Assistant District Leader for 32BJ SEIU, called the lawsuit an "attack on working-class people and [their] lifestyle".

"Doesn't it blink reality to deny that is what's happening here?" he said.

But Giardin says there's also an opportunity for unions to provide better services to the members who do stay, in the hopes of attracting more members. "And to force Mark Janus and others to fund this inherently political activity is wrong", he said. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on Monday morning. Local 1000 of the Service Employees International Union alone represents 100,000 people in this state, half of them here in Sacramento.

"One of my big issues - I do not like the political and social agenda that the unions engage in".

In between union chants of "right to work has got to go" and "stand up, fight back" they dismissed the plaintiff, an IL state employee named Mark Janus, who doesn't want to give his money to the union who represents him. "It is only fair to expect, though, that people who benefit from efforts of the union to contribute to those efforts".


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