CHN: Supreme Court Hears Case Challenging Labor Unions

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could adversely affect millions of working Americans. The case, Janus vs. AFSCME, centers on unions’ rights to collect “fair share” or “agency” fees from non-union members. Under current law, workers who choose not to join their workplace’s union do not pay union dues but do pay fair share fees to cover the basic costs for union representation, as these workers are still covered under collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the unions. This case is the third such one to come before the Supreme Court in five years involving public-sector unions’ ability to collect fair share fees. A report from the Economic Policy Institute found that all three of these cases have been funded by “a small group of foundations with ties to the largest and most powerful corporate lobbies.”

Advocates feel this case is an attack not only on labor unions, but on lower- and middle-income workers and their rights to organize for better pay and working conditions. They believe a ruling against AFSCME would weaken unions, the democratic decision-making process in the workplace, and public sector middle-class jobs. For more information, see CHN’s statement, this statement and op-ed from the National Employment Law Project, and this joint statement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association.

Labor and Employment