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Supreme Court Could Shake Up Status Quo on Public Sector Unions

Public-sector unions could face a big setback as the US Supreme Court recently took up the case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. The case centers around public-sector unions’ ability to collect union “agency fees” much like union dues but for those who choose not to participate or associate with the union while still benefiting from services such as collective bargaining and the administration of their union benefits.

The legal team of an Illinois government employee has convinced the nation’s highest court to take up the case to overturn the thirty-one year old precedent case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) which ruled that unions may collect fees under the US Constitution so long as the money is not used to pay for activities advancing the groups’ political or ideological goals.

After the deadlock of many similar union dues cases since the death of Antonin Scalia, this will be the first major labor case to be decided upon by the Supreme Court since President Trump’s April 2017 appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

While this case, to be decided by June of 2018 will not directly impact the private sector union world it will shed light into how the newly balanced court views first amendment rights in relation to organized labor and could possibly open the floodgates to similar private sector rulings.