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Host: Scott LaMar

How will Supreme Court Janus decision impact unions?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 12, 2018 4:53 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, July 12, 2018:

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that non-union government employees are not required to pay dues or fees in order to keep their jobs.  The Court said that an Illinois teacher's First Amendment freedom of speech rights were being denied when he was forced to pay even though he wasn't in the union.  The teacher -- Mark Janus -- said he didn't agree with the political positions the union was taking and shouldn't be forced to contribute money to fund political activity he didn't support.  That's even though non-union members' dues or fees aren't permitted to be used for political activity anyway.  

However, the argument for requiring non-union workers to pay dues or fees was that even though the employee may not be in the union, they benefitted from the contract the union negotiates.

The ruling overturns the 1977 Supreme Court case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in which the justices made a distinction between two kinds of required payments:  agency fees, which were found to be constitutional, and voluntary union dues, which were not. 

Some predict that organized labor unions will take a hard hit financially and will likely see a decrease in membership.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, we discuss the Janus decision and what it means for the future of unions with Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director at the Keystone Research Center and Nathan Benefield, Vice President and COO of the Commonwealth Foundation.

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Stephen Herzenberg and Nathan Benefield

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