Article from Reason by Eric Boehm.

More than four decades after the Supreme Court ruled that public sector workers could be required to pay dues to unions even if they do not join one, a 5–4 majority on the high court overturned that precedent in a closely watched case that could have major ramifications for the future of public sector unions.

“Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsi­dize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bar­gaining and related activities,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmem­bers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

In the short-term, the ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees means that plaintiff Mark Janus was successful in his decade-long fight to prevent the union from taking $50 out of his paycheck every two weeks. Over the years, Janus estimates, he’s contributed more than $6,000 to the union.

More broadly, Wednesday’s ruling could end the automatic deduction of union dues from millions of public employees’ paychecks, forcing unions like AFSCME to convince workers to voluntarily contribute dues—something workers would do, presumably, only if they have a reason to do so.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: Joe Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons