Illinois AFSCME case could be most important workers' rights case of a generation
As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders Springfield resident Mark Janus' lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), attorneys and staff of the Liberty Justice Center are calling the case one of the most important for workers' rights in a generation.
This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME in which Janus, who works as a child support specialist for the State of Illinois, is fighting the requirement to pay $45 each month to the AFSCME Council 31 even though he never voted on union representation and opposes the policies the group advocates.
"This is the most important case for workers' rights in a generation," Liberty Justice Center Director of Litigation Jacob Huebert said in a news release. "We're hopeful that the Supreme Court will restore workers' right to choose and state clearly that when you take a government job, you don't have to check your First Amendment rights at the door."
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney Bill Messenger said he hopes the court will see the requirement to pay union fees as a systematic violation of Constitutional rights for workers such as Janus.
"The ruling we are seeking would not prevent a single worker from joining or paying dues to a union if they voluntarily choose to," Messenger said in a statement. "It would simply recognize that the First Amendment protects government employees from being compelled to subsidize union speech.
"Now we wait for the Court to issue a ruling that will hopefully free Mark and more than 5 million other public workers from being forced to pay union fees, and allow them to choose for themselves whether or not union officials deserve their financial support."