Supreme Court to vote on First Amendment public union debate

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The group is representing IL worker Mark Janus in his Supreme Court challenge.

The court's four liberals seemed to back the unions' position.

Frederick said that overturning state laws could invalidate union contracts for millions of workers. The Monday's argument did not illuminate whether Gorsuch will, as expected, join his conservative colleagues in ruling against the unions.

In short, Janus may very well resurrect employees rights to free speech and association, as well as restore political balance by preventing public-employee unions from spending money collected from workers who may be opposed to the unions political agenda. Across the United States, more than 5 million government workers are required to give part of their paycheck to a government union as a condition of working in public service.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on February 26 in a case that could have major ramifications on the membership and power of government employee unions.

"When have we ever done something like that?"

The issue is straightforward: Does public-sector unionism violate the First Amendment rights of workers who do not want to join a union?

"So [right-to-work] weakens unions, which weakens them out of influence that they can have over policy", Cropper said, "and again, those policy decisions both at a state level and at a local level are critically important to a student's learning environment".

The Supreme County was deadlocked 4-4 two years ago on the same issue. It's widely believed that Scalia would have voted against the unions.

Supporters of organized labor dispute the characterization of the issue as a matter of speech and claim Janus shouldn't have a right to reap the benefits of a collective bargaining process if he doesn't help pay for it.

"When you compel somebody to speak, don't you infringe that person's dignity and conscience in a way that you do not when you restrict what the person says?" While 28 states have so-called right-to-work laws that prohibit mandatory agency fees, Wisconsin and MI have exceptions for police officers and firefighters that permit agency fees covering those workers.

"Doesn't it blink reality to deny that is what's happening here?" he said.

"We must win and remember if you have the will to win, you will win", Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said. "And to force Mark Janus and others to fund this inherently political activity is wrong", he said.

The unions point out that they are required by law to represent all employees regardless if they are members and that no one is required to join the union.

Twenty-eight states are known as right to work states, meaning people who are covered under public employee contracts don't have to pay the fair share fee for representation. Unions shouldn't get to use other people's money.

Danica Alink, of McLean, Va., center, and Beth Feeley, of Wilmette, Illi., right, say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of a rally supporting Mark Janus, outside of the Supreme Court, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Washington.

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