Janus v. AFSCME, one of the more momentous Supreme Court decisions in 2018, where the Court decided that a public-sector union’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment because all union activity is intrinsically political speech. Thus, unions may no longer deduct fees for such political speech unless the employee freely gives his or her consent for them to do so, which must be demonstrated by clear and compelling evidence.
In Janus’ wake, public-sector unions have, for the most part,:
- ordered their local affiliates to stop deducting agency-fee payments
- but have tightened restrictions on members’ ability to change their membership and dues-paying status
- and pressured new employees to sign-up as members without providing information on Janus.
The litigation following Janus in several Federal Appeals Court Circuits has pursued the following:
- sought recovery of prior agency fees paid
- challenged restrictions on members’ resignations and terminations of dues deduction authorizations
- asserted that the Janus principles should extend to all public employees, irrespective of agency fee or membership status, who did not give a knowing waiver of their right to decline to support the public union.
Another big issue is whether subsequent litigation will extend the Janus decision to private-sector employees covered by the NLRA and RLA.
Atty Douglas Seaton will describe the arguments of public employee counsel in the cases seeking to extend Janus and will comment on how this principle might be extended to private-sector employees. Atty Jill Hartley will present the union/labor perspective