Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a rare decision that reversed a previous Supreme Court ruling, that public sector unions could not legally charge public employees who benefit from their negotiations but don’t want to become members.
The justices’ ruling in Janus v. AFSCME was seen at the time to potentially be one of the more consequential rulings to come out of the Supreme Court all year. The plaintiff, Mark Janus, argued that not only should he not be required to pay these “agency fees” a charge paid by members to help foot the cost of collective bargaining, but that mandating they do so is a violation of the First Amendment because if the employee doesn’t agree with the union’s politics, that having to pay a fee to support negotiations is essentially the same as unconstitutional compelled speech.
Unions argued that a decision in Janus’ favor would have a chilling effect on membership and revenue, and that because many states had already negotiated contracts under the old rules, that the timing for a change was bad.
Four months after the ruling came down, how is the decision impacting unions around the country and here in California? Are unions seeing a drop-off in membership and revenue? And what will the continuing effect of the ruling be on unions in California?
Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the SCOTUS case, Janus v. AFSCME that was decided in June this year
Will Swaim, president of California Policy Center, a non-profit organization working to inform union workers about their Janus rights
Jesús Quiñonez, legal director for the California Teachers Association, the union representing 325,000 public sector teachers and education support professionals in California