Organized labor has expressed concern that a ruling throwing out the fees would give employees less incentive to join public-sector unions because they would still be represented by the union in collecting bargaining and receive the benefits from that without having to pay for it. Union membership in the USA declined to just 10.7 percent of the workforce previous year, and the ranks of private-sector unions have been especially hard hit. The group represents an IL state employee, Mark Janus, whose lawsuit brought the issue back to the Supreme Court.
Last year, the high court heard arguments in a California case brought by a group of public school teachers.
The states compare the requirement of public employees to subsidize union activities to "forced subsidization of a political party".
The states argue that collective bargaining is effectively "political activity" with significant implications for the public at large, pointing to municipal bankruptcies like Detroit's, in which public-employee benefits played a role.
Rauner says his 2015 executive order prohibiting state-agency "fair share" collection set the Janus case in motion.
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It has spawned a number of books and has been a theme of a few episodes of American series such as Sex and the City and Glee . Mesi brushed off the negative comments saying that "nothing and no-one can turn off my smile".
Janus is asking the court to rule that even that requirement violates free expression, and four of the court's conservatives have suggested that they agree. Court precedent holds that while a non-member does not have to pay fees that go to political activities, that exemption does not include fees for issues such as employment conditions and employee grievances.
A federal appeals court in Chicago rejected Janus' claim in March.
A loss for unions representing teachers, police, transit workers, firefighters and other government employees would deprive them of millions of dollars annually and diminish their political clout. "Janus v. AFSCME presents an opportunity to restore fairness and First Amendment rights to millions of American workers by giving them the right to choose whether to support a union with their money".
The Supreme Court case does not affect private-sector unions.
In the last five years, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has criticized Abood's reasoning in at least two cases, though it has left the precedent standing.