June 28, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Janus Wins: Supreme Court Restores First Amendment Rights of Public Employees. Now What?

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mark Janus, a child protection specialist for the State of Illinois, in Janus v. AFSCME.

The Court overturned a 1977 decision called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, holding that public employees do not have to pay agency fees to a union, and that employers must obtain a non-member employee’s “affirmative consent” before deducting any fees from their paycheck.

The High Court ruled, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

 

Are you a teacher? If you are a Minnesota teacher, please join us.

Here is a short video by Kim Crockett explaining the Janus case.

 

If you are an agency fee payer, your employer should stop deducting fees from your paycheck immediately but it is a good idea to send a letter to your employer.

If you are a union member, your “opt-out window” is this September 24-30 though that narrow window may not withstand legal challenge.  If you decide to resign from membership, it is a good idea to contact both your employer and the union. If you sign up for emails (at the bottom of the home page), we will keep you in the loop. (We will have sample letters for your use in the next few days.)

If you are a police officer, city clerk, janitor, or another type of public employee, check out the website www.mypaymysay.com. There is a page for Minnesota.

If you are an agency fee payer, your employer should stop deducting fees from your paycheck immediately but it is a good idea to send a letter to your employer.

If you are a union member, find or get a copy of your union card. It is unclear whether the terms of your union card will be upheld, or if they will be found to unconstitutionally burden your rights.

(Please send us a copy of your union card with your personal info redacted at [email protected])

Union Cards. Public employees sign union cards that purport to set the terms for how and when an employee can resign from union membership. Even after Janus, the courts and legislature might try to strictly enforce those terms in favor of unions, and against employees.

Now that the Court has restored the First Amendment rights of public employees and said employers need your “affirmative consent,” the union agreements are not expected to survive legal challenge. But sorting it all out could take time. In the meantime, public employees may wish to opt out of their union, ignoring the restrictions in the union card.

Caveat: The unions are not being passive. They are asking for employees to sign new union cards. Public-sector employees do not have to sign ANY document that affirms or reaffirms a “commitment” to the union, 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.

 If you are not a public-sector employee, feel free to share this with your family and friends who are! Thank you.

Please note that the resources, tools, research, and statements are offered for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or consultation for your particular situation. The information we have compiled is based upon publicly available data as of June 27, 2018, and is subject to change at any time. Center of the American Experiment and EducatedTeachersMN does not warrant or guarantee its accuracy.

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