Local unions plan talk on Supreme Court's pending ruling on 'fair share' fees

Local unions plan talk on Supreme Court's pending ruling on 'fair share' fees

CHAMPAIGN — Labor groups will sponsor a public discussion Sunday about an upcoming Supreme Court decision on "fair share" fees paid by state workers who don't want to join the union that represents them.

"Turning Lemons Into Lemonade! (Coming Attacks on Unions & Fighting Back)" will be held at 1 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W Green St, C. It is free and open to the public.

The Supreme Court in March could overturn a 1977 decision that public-sector workers who enjoy union wages and benefits but choose not to join may be required to pay "fair share" fees, usually lower than regular dues, to help cover the union's costs, said Ricky Baldwin, co-chair of the group Jobs With Justice.

Opponents of fair-share fees say they violate workers' First Amendment rights.

The case, Janus v. AFSCME, grew out of efforts by Gov. Bruce Rauner to halt the collection of fair-share fees by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents state workers. The plantiff, a state worker, argued that the union advocates positions he doesn't support, including spending on state programs and higher taxes to pay for it.

Legal experts say the case could affect 5 million public workers in 22 states.

Baldwin said that would make the entire country "right to work" in the public sector. He argues that Rauner and right-to-work groups really want to undermine unions. He said it's only fair for workers who get union raises and protections to pay a fee.

At Sunday's event, a social worker and a nurse who went through similar changes in Wisconsin will talk about the impact there, he said.

The event is sponsored by Central Illinois Jobs With Justice, AFSCME Retirees Chapter 88, the Champaign County AFL-CIO, the Champaign Federation of Teachers, CU Democratic Socialists of America, the East Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades, Graduate Employees Organization Local 6300, Service Employees International Local 73 and the Undergraduate-Graduate Alliance at UIUC.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
APC wrote on February 17, 2018 at 11:02 am

It seems to me that in the likely event that the Supreme Court ignores stare decisis and overturns the previous decision on the basis of 1st amendment rights of the non-union members, that the complementary aspects should hold true for the Union.  This is to say that right now, the Union is required to bargain for non-Union members (they get the benefits of the bargain without having any skin in the game).  Free speech would seem to go both ways - the Union should not be required to bargain for non-members. 

This is, however, not just a free speech issue - it is about making a living wage and working conditions as well as others.  For example, at this point there is little counterbalance to the vast amounts of cash being pumped into the political system by those individuals and corporations with huge pockets and vested interests in their own (not workers) well being.  Unions have acted, for the last 100 or so years, as a good counterweight.

Thus, please non-Union members. Enjoy your 7 day work weeks and reduced number of days off, and safety standards for less pay etc... The $$ed gentry have managed to brainwash the masses well.

Talk about returning to the robber baron age. People simply do not know history - they should be required to learn it in school or something.

catsrule wrote on February 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

APC, Valid points. If the SC decides in favor of Janus, it won't be favorable for organized labor but it won't be a "mortal blow" as desired by Bruce Rauner, his multi-millionaire corporate investor class friends and the editorial boards they "own" such as the News-Gazette and Chicago Tribune that would like to return to the Gilded Age during which labor was subject to Dickensian standards. Large numbers of "fair share" public sector employees have chosen to become full dues paying members since Rauner's election. For the sake of small business owners who depend on consumers with expendable income and especially stakeholders and residents of communities with universities and colleges (EIU and Charleston have been economically damaged so badly they may never recover to pre-Rauner levels), Bruce Rauner must be defeated. There is no mandate in IL for "RTW", elimination of prevailing wage laws and eliminating the ability of organized labor to bargain collectively over wages and conditions of employment. Had Bruce Rauner been honest about what his agenda was during the last gubernatorial election, he wouldn't have been elected.