SCOTUS will hear mandatory union dues challenge

Cherry blossom trees bloom on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear Janus v. AFSCME, a labor case that brings a First Amendment challenge to the collection of mandatory union fees. Janus v. AFSCME, filed on behalf of Mark Janus, an employee of the Illinois Department of Healthcare Services. Currently, public-sector unions in 22 states are permitted to collect fees from workers who aren’t members.

This suit alleges the fees force workers to support unions that are essentially lobbies that don’t necessarily share their beliefs.

In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions could collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of negotiating contracts for all employees. In Abood vs Detroit Board of Education, the Court ruled the fees were constitutional as long they weren’t used for political or ideological activities.

The Supreme Court deadlocked on the issue last year, 4-4, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.