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U.S. Supreme Court Opinion: Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

June 27, 2018
By Samuel Alito

A 7-to-2 majority of the Court held forced collection of fees for union representation violates the First Amendment

"States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. Under Illinois law, if a public-sector collective-bargaining agreement includes an agency-fee provisionand the union certifies to the employer the amount of the fee, that amount is automatically deducted from the nonmember’s wages. No form of employee consent is required.

"This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed. Rather, to be effective, the waiver must be freely given and shown by “clear and compelling” evidence. Unless employees clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them, this standard cannot be met."