Fees case may enable the US Supreme Court to curb the power of labor unions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will consider for the second time in two years whether to choke off a critical funding stream for public-employee unions, potentially reducing organized labor’s influence from the workplace in addition to at the ballot box.

The nine justices will hear a challenge backed by anti-union groups to the legality of fees in which workers who are not members of unions representing teachers, police, firefighters in addition to certain different government employees must pay to help cover the costs of collective bargaining with state in addition to local governments.

About two dozen states require payment of these so-called agency fees, covering roughly 5 million public-sector workers, in which provide millions of dollars annually to unions. Their disappearance might deliver another blow to a U.S. organized labor movement already in a diminished state compared to past decades.

The justices considered a similar case in 2016, in addition to after hearing arguments appeared poised to overturn a 1977 Supreme Court precedent in which let unions force non-members covered by contracts negotiated by organized labor to pay fees in lieu of union dues to help cover non-political union expenditures.

nevertheless the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia the following month left the court with an even split of conservatives in addition to liberals, in addition to its 4-4 ruling in March 2016 did not resolve the legal question.

Republican President Donald Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch last year restored the Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority. Gorsuch could cast the deciding vote in dooming agency fees.

Depriving unions of agency fees could hamstring their ability to spend in political races. They typically back Democratic candidates over Republicans.

The 2016 case was brought by non-union California public school teachers. The plaintiff from the current case is usually Mark Janus, a child-support specialist for the state of Illinois who opted not to join the union in which represents employees like him, the American Federation of State, County in addition to Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

In both cases, the challengers argued in which being forced to pay the agency fees to unions whose views they may not share violates their rights to free speech in addition to free association under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

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