Rep. Jeanne Ives
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) surveyed cities and school districts in her legislative district asking how they plan to comply with June's U.S Supreme Court ruling that abolished 40 years of compulsory unionism.
Only one responded that it has plans to communicate directly with employees about their rights in light of the June 27 Janus v. AFSCME decision.
“Many believe the decision now requires affirmative opt-in by even current employees before dues can be taken from paychecks and remitted to the unions,” Ives told Prairie State Wire. “Some kind of instructive language needs to go out so employees understand that.”
Mark Janus, one of two state workers who brought the now landmark case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court | Photo courtesy of the Illinois Policy Institute
The Janus ruling overturned Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, a 1977 decision that gave public sector unions the right to collect dues from non-union members under the premise that unions negotiate salary and benefits for everyone in their bargaining units, members and non-members alike. Twenty states, including Illinois, later adopted laws requiring the deduction of the fees.
But in Janus, the court said that the payment of fees by non-union members was a violation of First Amendment rights. The payments are a form of coerced speech since the unions endorse positions and candidates — almost exclusively Democratic — that might not be to the liking of some of their non-union contributors.
Nearly everyone agrees that effective immediately, all non-union members should no longer be required to pay the fee, Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center (LJC), said.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and LJC represented Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker when he first filed the case in 2015.
Schwab agrees with Ives that some sort of explanatory statement from employers (government entities and school districts) and unions should go out to all employees.
“What’s not clear is what’s going to happen to those who joined the union not because they wanted to but because the union dues were nearly the same as the fees,” Schwab said. “We believe that their payments should stop immediately because they were given an unconstitutional choice.”
Ives is considering introducing legislation to require that all employees are notified of their rights under the ruling.