Supremes spar over limitations on unions; Gorsuch silent


Gorsuch did not ask a question during an hour of arguments, while the other eight justices appeared to be equally split along ideological lines. In both the public and private sectors, collective bargaining gives unions the exclusive right to speak for covered workers on workplace issues, many of whom may disagree with the union's views.

Conservative anti-union interests are backing an IL government employee who says that being forced to pay anything at all violates his First Amendment speech rights.

Audrie Francis, a fourth-year environmental science student and member of Student Labor Advocacy, said they think undergraduate students should pay attention to campus protests on labor issues.

In March 2016, an evenly divided Court couldn't decide a similar case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, after Justice Antonin Scalia's death; many court watchers had expected a ruling against the unions if Scalia had been present.

All eyes will be on Justice Neil Gorsuch Monday when the court takes up a challenge to an IL law that allows unions representing government employees to collect fees from workers who choose not to join.

Here's some context: Right now, in more than 20 states, non-union public workers have to pay a "fair-share" fee to government unions. Supreme Court made it clear that they will outlaw a key source of financial backing for public employee unions.

"Unions need to have a strong voice in this country and our voice is very valuable", Andrew Pallota, NYSUT President, said.

The case was prompted by Illinois Department of Healthcare employee Mark Janus, who sued the union that represents him over the constitutionality of compulsory dues subtracted from his paycheck. "And for them to come in and cut our wages, cut our benefits - or open the door for that to happen - it's going to affect the whole entire city", Rall-Johnston said.

While Obama supported the unions in Harris v. Quinn, the Trump administration supports Janus.

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"I work for Healthcare and Family Services and I'm forced to pay money to a union who then supports political causes that I don't agree with", stated Janus.

But her union wouldn't even allow her to survey other teachers.

"We must win and remember if you have the will to win, you will win", Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said.

An Illinois social worker is fighting for the right to not pay the "fair share" fees.

The American Civil Liberties Union is on the unions' side against an individual's free speech claims.

National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon told FCW in an emailed statement that an adverse ruling for AFSCME "could weaken unions and result in fewer protections for our nation's state and local government employees".

"The opportunity here is to re-engage in a way that the reason for unions in the first place becomes a prominent reason again", Weingarten said.

Neal noted the decision in the Janus case is "more of a state and local issue than a federal issue", because the fees at issue here aren't paid by unionized feds.