This coming Monday, the United States Supreme Court will be hearing a case called Janus v. AFSCME. This case involves New York and 21 other states. These 22 states currently require all public employees to pay union dues even if they do not want to be a union member nor be represented by the union.
The plaintiff in this action is Mark Janus who is a government employee in the state of Illinois. Mr. Janus filed his lawsuit because he does not want to fund the political activity that his union engages in. Mr. Janus holds that unions, for the most part, contribute to Democratic Party causes that violate his political beliefs.
If the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Mr. Janus, the Taylor Law in New York would be overturned. This law was enacted in 1967, and it is the law that requires public sector workers in New York state and NYC to pay union dues whether they like it or not.
Currently, there are about one million union members in the state of New York. The unions believe that if the Supreme Court rules for Mr. Janus, unions will lose anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of their membership. This loss of membership and union dues would severely limit the amount of money that unions could spend on political campaigns throughout the state and in NYC.
In a report by chalkbeat.org, unions believe that the entire lawsuit is without merit. Union leaders point to the fact that there is already a remedy in place for those who do not want their union dues to be used for political campaigns. All that the member needs to do is submit a letter asking to opt-out of having dues used for political purposes. When the union receives the letter, the portion of the member’s dues used for political purposes is refunded.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Janus, Democratic Party leaders believe that it will be a blow to their funding across the United States. Currently, the Democratic Party receives major funding from a wide variety of unions.