Crucial Supreme Court ruling looms

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Crucial Supreme Court ruling looms

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon be ruling on a case that holds enormous implications for PSEA and all public sector unions.

The issue at stake in Janus v. AFSCME is whether public sector unions can continue to charge non-members “fair share fees’’ for the representation and benefits they receive under collective bargaining agreements. The fees are lower than members’ dues.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that since unions must provide representation to non-members in a bargaining unit, it is fair to charge fees to cover that representation.

However, the court agreed to hear a case brought by Illinois state employee Mark Janus who says he does not want to pay a fair share “representation’’ fee to the union. Janus disagrees with AFSCME’s legislative positions but does not acknowledge that the representation fee excludes any costs for lobbying and reflects only costs related to collective bargaining.

His case is the latest attack on organized labor by well-heeled, anti-union forces.

“This is a blatant, full frontal assault on the hard-earned collective bargaining rights of working families,’’ said PSEA President Dolores McCracken. “There is a large and well-financed anti-union faction that has anti-union political agendas.

“But we will not back down, and one of our best defenses is to tell the story of what PSEA does for its members.’’

The court heard oral arguments on Feb. 26 and will render a decision by the end of June.