Public employee unions in the 22 states that allow fair share fees are bracing for the possibility of big change, perhaps as early as June. Arguments were held Feb. 26 at the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus vs. AFSCME, the latest attempt by those opposed to unions to strike out at the public sector.
Most SCOTUS pundits believe the court will rule 5-4 against the unions, unhinging over 40 years of precedent disallowing “free riders.” The Supreme Court ruled in the 1977 Abood case that public employees who benefit from a union’s collective bargaining efforts could be forced to pay so-called “fair share” (or “agency”) fees, minus any money the union spends on politics.
Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola University of Los Angeles, has written a balanced explanation of the case’s complexities. The Supreme Court’s decision is expected sometime between June and mid-August.
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