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Heartland Best Of: Revisiting Mark Janus

November 23, 2018

For the holidays, we return to the monumental impact Mark Janus had on public labor unions.

In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Jesse Hathaway is joined by Mark Janus, a senior fellow with the Illinois Policy Institute and the successful plaintiff in Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. Janus talks about the blockbuster lawsuit overturning decades of compulsory speech at the hands of public-sector unions, as well as what the future holds for setting workers free from the grips of Big Labor.

More than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled on a similar case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, in which the Court determined teachers lacked the right to fully opt out of union membership while employed in a public school system where teachers are unionized.

Before the Court’s Janus ruling, objecting public servants were allowed to “opt out” of paying a portion of their involuntary membership fees, but not all of it. According to Janus, because money is fungible, union bosses still use individuals’ money to conduct union politics.

Janus retells how the case started, years ago. As an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services child support specialist, he says he sued the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, arguing the union was infringing upon his rights by extracting membership dues from his paycheck without his consent.

Janus says the justices’ decision opened a door and freed public servants to have the right to choose not to join a union and to make decisions based on what’s best for them, instead of what’s best for the union bosses.

Jesse Hathaway is a policy advisor for budget and tax issues at The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH