Chicago partner Stephanie Dodge Gournis was quoted in Inside Higher Ed and Human Resource Executive on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling finding that public sector employees cannot be forced to pay agency dues and fees to the unions that represent them. In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME overturned prior precedent to find unconstitutional an Illinois law allowing union-represented employees automatically to be charged a representative “fair share” agency fee without their consent. By declaring that “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees,” the Supreme Court seemingly directs public sector employers to stop dues deductions for any employees who fail to sign written consents and means unions across the United States will have to work harder to persuade public employees to voluntary pay union dues.
In the Inside Higher Ed article, titled “Supreme Court Rules Against Public-Sector Unions,” Stephanie comments that despite union “propaganda” about the court decision harming employee rights and higher education, the real impact of the Janus decision on union organizing is “less than certain.”
While the decision can be expected to negatively impact "the bottom line of public sector labor organizations that previously have benefited from fair share dues,” Stephanie notes that successful union organizing campaigns in right-to-work states shows that "the elimination of forced dues deductions does not eliminate union organizing.”
In the Human Resource Executive article, titled “SCOTUS’ Blow to Public-Sector Unions,” Stephanie predicts a long-term impact of the Janus decision will be that public-sector unions “begin to refocus their efforts on the private sector” since the National Labor Relations Act allows unions in non-right-to-work states to enter into union-security agreements with employers which require employees to either join represented-unions or pay “fair share” fees as a condition of employment. Commenting on Justice Kennedy’s recent retirement announcement, Stephanie further notes that a bigger takeaway from the Janus case may be “what the case says about the type of rulings, including those impacting labor and employment, that we’re likely to see from a Gorsuch and post-Kennedy [Supreme] court.”
Read “Supreme Court Rules Against Public-Sector Unions” in Inside Higher Ed.
Read “SCOTUS’ Blow to Public-Sector Unions” in Human Resource Executive.