Supreme Court to rule on nonmember union fees: 5 things to know

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case on whether unions representing healthcare workers and other public-sector employees should be allowed to continue collecting required annual fees from nonmembers, according to a Reuters report.

Here are five things to know.

1. The case, Janus v. AFSME, centers on whether unions representing public-sector employees should be able to continue collecting so-called "fair share" fees from nonmembers to help pay for contract negotiations and other nonpolitical activities. The case challenges a 1977 Supreme Court opinion that allowed unions representing public sector employees to require nonmembers to pay the fees.

2. Currently, about 5 million nonmember public-sector workers in more than 20 states pay these fees. They are used by unions representing law enforcement, teachers, healthcare workers and certain other state and local employees, according to the report.

3. Mark Janus, an Illinois public sector employee who decided not to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is the plaintiff in the case. Mr. Janus argues nonmembers may disagree with the union's position, and requiring them to make the payments violates First Amendment protections, according to the report.

4. Unions argue the fees help ensure nonmembers are paying for the benefit they receive from union negotiations on issues such as wages and working conditions, according to Reuters.

5. The Supreme Court appears divided on the matter. Conservative justices indicated support for overturning the 1977 case, while liberal justices indicated support for the fees, according to the report. Reuters notes President Donald Trump's appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch, a known conservative, did not vocally voice his position this week during argument, but his vote will likely be the deciding factor. A decision on the case is expected by June 30.

Read the full report here.

 

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