Soon, all public employees may gain the right to choose whether to pay money to a union

It’s your paycheck. Shouldn’t union membership be your choice?

The Supreme Court is considering a case that would permanently ban forced union fees for 5 million public employees nationwide. Right now, public employees in 22 states (non-right-to-work) can be fired for not paying union fees. Soon, these employees may finally have the right to keep this hard-earned money in their paychecks and to stop paying a union they do not support.

We believe that all workers deserve this opportunity. We believe that all workers should have a say.

The Opportunity:

Janus vs AFSCME

Mark Janus is a public employee from Illinois who has taken his case for choice and free speech to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mark is fighting for the freedom to leave and stop paying AFSCME, one of the largest government unions nationwide. Mark’s case is simple: he doesn’t agree with the union’s politics and doesn’t want to be forced to pay for positions he disagrees with. He is fighting for himself and the millions of workers in 22 states just like him who have been forced to continue paying a union, regardless of how well the union represents them, spends their money, or the causes they support.

You can find out more about Mark and his case here.

Take Action:

Be a part of something big.

In the coming months, public employees will get to have a say – whether that’s by telling their stories, writing to their representatives in Washington and their state capitals, or gathering with friends on the steps of the Supreme Court, and, we hope – finally having a right to exercise the option of paying or not paying a union.

Sign up here and be a part of making forgotten workers heard!

  • “I did not like being told who I should vote for and knowing my money was going to political candidates I did not support”
    Jill, public school teacher
  • “Their priority was not the research assistants, but rather the million dollars per year in additional dues that we represented.”
    Melinda, Research Assistant
  • “This union has done nothing for me. I have paid into it with no return.”
    Bonnie, Public School Teacher
  • “The dues ... were exorbitant in my opinion. I wasn’t getting any bang for the buck.”
    Rob, Public School Teacher
Going Deeper:

Did You Know?

1

Approximately 5 million unionized government workers in 22 states will be impacted by the Janus decision.

Currently, 28 states already grant the “right-to-work” without forced unionization to most or all public workers, while about 5 million workers in the 22 states without these right-to-work laws must still pay their unions regardless of whether not the unions are serving their best interests.

2

Government unions have sent their own members to collections for deciding to stop paying dues.

One union said it would use “any legal means” to combat members who want to leave.

3

Workers can already opt out of union membership, but they still must pay to support union activities.

It’s true that unionized public employees can already choose not to technically be members of the union organized in their workplace. However, these employees are still forced to financially support these unions by paying them what’s typically called an “agency fee” — supposedly for funding general operation costs for the union, but often used for political purposes some members do not support. A ruling in favor of Janus would mean that public employees would no longer be forced to financially support a union that they do not want to be a member of.

4

Government unions have locked members into extended contracts for as long as 10 years to prevent them from exercising newly granted rights-to-work.

5

Teachers don’t need a union to have insurance.

Liability insurance can be purchased individually, and there are many options available for employees who choose to resign their union membership, including the Association of American Educators, who already insure thousands of teachers nationwide.

6

Government unions have changed the post office box for mailing in union membership resignations to confuse and stall the process.

We Believe:

Workers Should Not be Pressured or Threatened to Pay Dues as a Condition of Employment.

Public sector employees should never have to go to work with the looming fear of termination simply because they chose not to join the union.

Workers Deserve a Choice and a Voice When it Comes to Union Representation

Public sector employees should have the right to say “no thanks” to financially supporting a politically active government union.

  • The First Amendment not only guards the freedom to express your views, but also protects against being forced to support someone else’s views (compelled speech).
  • Imagine if your employer required you to contribute to the NRA, The Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in order to keep your job.

Government Unions operate in a politicized environment and should thus not be able to force employees to financially support them

Although public-sector unions are legally prevented from spending agency fees for political purposes, many union activities are nevertheless political in nature.

  • Public-sector unions are often the single-greatest source of political expenditures in the states (e.g. In New Jersey, 1-in-5 dollars spent on politics is expended by the state’s largest public school teachers union)
  • There are no other instances in the private sector where workers are required to contribute to an organization that engages in political activity.

Unions Should Not Pressure Workers to Sign Away Constitutional Rights that may be Restored Under Janus

Public sector unions are prejudging Janus. In expectation they will lose, unions have already begun efforts to circumvent a Supreme Court decision and pressure workers into signing away an ability to exercise constitutional rights to free speech the Court may choose to restore.

  • Public-sector employees should refuse to sign ANY legally binding document that affirms or reaffirms “commitment” to the union (which really means forced financial support), including “recommitment cards” or “membership cards.”
  • Recommitment cards may be legally binding documents that may temporarily deprive public-sector workers of any constitutional rights restored by the Supreme Court in the Janus case.