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UPDATE: Janus ruling requires public sector union members to “opt in” (or will it?)



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UPDATE x2: Illinois Review asked for an opinion from Liberty Justice Center on the debate. Pat Hughes, President of Liberty Justice Center, said in a statement Friday that indeed, unions will be forced to use "opt in":

We interpret the Janus ruling as a sweeping win for government workers. The opt in portion of Justice Alito’s opinion means exactly what it says – post Janus, governments should stop collecting union dues of any kind for any member or non-member. It doesn't matter whether or not someone previously opted in, the conditions upon which that happened – forced agency fees regardless of whether you opted in- made the decision making process for each state employee very different in a pre-Janus world. 

(On the side, we're told, additional litigation is expected and it is likely the courts will need to rule to clarify.)

UPDATE: There seems to be differing opinions on whether the Janus opinion will affect public sector union membership – especially in Illinois, not a "right to work" state. After our story was published with the above headline, we were contacted by CapitolFax's Rich Miller, who said our headline (Janus ruling requires public sector union members to "opt in") was wrong, that membership will not need to opt in. We rechecked several sources that say the opposite. 

Then Mr. Miller checked with an AFSCME Local 31 contact that expressed a differing opinion. We've inserted below: 

SPRINGFIELD – State employees will now need to "opt in" to public sector union membership after the seismic Janus vs AFSCME ruling the U.S. Supreme Court made earlier this week. As of Wednesday, union fees will no longer be automatically taken from state workers' paychecks in Illinois. Workers will need to affirmatively indicate if they want to be union members.

The case's plaintiff Mark Janus, an employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, sued AFSCME to gain his right to reject union membership and dues taken automatically from his paycheck each month. Janus argued he didn't agree with how AFSCME spent a portion of his dues on political campaigns. 

"I think this gives the individual worker in a public sector entity the right to make their own decision, and that was the basis for my case all along," Janus told Fox Business' Stuart Varney.

Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center provided legal counsel as Mr. Janus' case proceeded to the US Supreme Court. Janus and his attorney Jacob Heubert spoke with Fox Business as they stood on the US Supreme Court steps immediately after the decision came down Wednesday.

The ruling applies not only to state government workers, but also to public employees such as teachers, law enforcement and public safety employees nationwide. 

UPDATE: That's not the case in Illinois, a AFSCME Local 31 rep told Capitol Fax's Rich Miller. Miller shared the reply with Illinois Review:

The court case changes nothing in this regard. In Illinois a represented employee has always had to sign a card to join the union; we provide the signed cards to the employer who then deducts dues.

Despite Rauner trying to sow confusion and drive people to his anti-union web site, it's critically important that every union-represented employee understand they need take no action: Union members have already opted in by signing a card. Fair share payers aren't opted in and their fees will no longer be deducted.

The only action necessary is if you were fair share and now want to join the union: You should contact your local union leader or steward, or reach out to Council 31, and we'd be more than happy to provide a membership card for you to sign.
Apparently, there are some issues that will need to be clarified post-case decision.

We continue …

What's next?

"Making sure every state in every union respects workers' First Amendment right to decide if they're going to join a union," Heubert said. 


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