U.S. Supreme Court takes fair share case

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U.S. Supreme Court takes fair share case

Voice: November 2017

As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on whether public-sector unions like PSEA can charge union members fees for the services unions provide them.

Under state laws, non-union members can be required – as they are in many PSEA locals – to pay a fee for their “fair share’’ of the benefits and representation they receive under collective bargaining agreements. The fees are lower than members’ dues.

Since unions in many states must provide representation to non-members in a bargaining unit, the Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that it is fair for unions to charge fees to cover that representation.

In the case the court has agreed to hear, Janus v. AFSCME, Illinois state employee Mark Janus contends he shouldn’t have to pay union dues because he disagrees with AFSCME’s positions.

The case holds serious implications for unions and is the latest push by well-heeled, anti-public employee forces to attack organized labor.

“For decades, corporate CEOs and the wealthy have fought to enrich themselves at the expense of the rights and pocket books of working people,’’ said Lily Eskelsen Garcìa, NEA president. “As the nation’s largest union, we know this fight will not only impact the lives of educators, but it also impacts the families of the children we educate.’’

The court deadlocked 4-4 last year on a similar case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Justice Antonin Scalia, who was expected to cast the fifth vote striking down fair share, passed away prior to the high court’s ruling. His replacement, Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, is cast in the same ideological mode as Scalia.