The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June that requiring nonmembers of a union to pay agency fees to opt out of the union is a violation of First Amendment rights. The case, Janus v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), has broad implications, including for public educators who opt out of union membership.
Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, opposed the AFSCME’s actions, which were partly funded by nonmember fees.
The Supreme Court’s decision overturned the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. “Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning,” Justice Samuel Alito contended in delivering the opinion of the court.