February 5, 2018 Print

Across the United States, millions of government workers are forced to pay money to a government union as a condition of employment. These workers have no choice in the matter. In 22 states, government unions have the power to force every public sector employee to fund their policy positions, even if these workers do not want to be union members and strongly oppose the union’s policies.

This system of “forced union dues” is a clear violation of the employees’ freedom of speech rights. Many government employees oppose the union’s positions on certain issues, but they have no choice but to fund their advocacy — or risk losing their jobs.

The First Amendment protects the right of every individual — not a union or the government — to decide whom he or she chooses to associate with and what political speech to support. Government unions should not be allowed to force public sector employees — who may not even be union members — to fund policy positions they object to.

"About five million public sector workers are currently forced to give part of every paycheck to a government union just to keep their jobs," said Jacob H. Huebert, director of litigation at Liberty Justice Center. "Unions use that money to fund their advocacy on public-policy issues, which violates the workers' First Amendment rights. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will end this unconstitutional practice and restore workers' rights."

On Monday, February 26, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in the case of Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees). Mark Janus is a child-support worker for the state of Illinois. He can no longer tolerate allowing a portion of his paycheck to go to a union he’s not even a member of so it can fund policy positions he believes are harmful to his home state of Illinois. He has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to defend his First Amendment right to be free of AFSCME’s forced-dues coercion.

Should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Mark Janus’s petition, it will restore the First Amendment rights of every American — that they cannot be coerced into supporting policy positions that they oppose. 

Read more about the Janus v. AFSCME case here. Janus is represented in Janus v. AFSCME by attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. He is supported by several Atlas Network partner organizations across the United States, including State Policy Network, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Illinois Policy Institute, Commonwealth Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and more.

On February 26, the day of the hearing, there will be a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States in support of Janus. Find out more information about the rally here and RSVP here.