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Renato Mariotti @renato_mariotti
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THREAD: What is the #JanusvAFSCME case, which the Supreme Court heard yesterday, about? What is the expected result and the aftermath?
1/ In #JanusvAFSCME, the Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn a prior case that allowed public sector unions to establish “agency shop” arrangements with their government employers, which require the union to represent the interests of all employees.
2/ The arrangement requires unions to represent non-union employees. It also requires non-union employees to pay a "fair share" fee so they don't free ride on the efforts of the union, which are primarily funded through member dues.
3/ The crux of the argument against the arrangement is that non-union employees are forced to "speak" (via paying the fee) and support a union that has views they disagree with. The Supreme Court rejected this First Amendment argument back in 1977.
3/ In 2016, the Supreme Court once again considered this precise issue and split 4-4. At the time, one Supreme Court seat was vacant because Congress refused to consider Obama's selection of Merrick Garland. Yesterday the issue was heard again, with Gorsuch as the deciding vote.
4/ He was silent yesterday, but most analysts predict that Gorsuch will side with the conservatives and strike down the "agency shop" arrangements. Gorsuch has a reputation as an extremely conservative jurist. (A decision should come out later this year.)
5/ This suit was initiated by Illinois's Republican Governor, who has also championed "right to work" laws that weaken unions. In many states, unions have been the target of attacks by Republicans, in part because unions tend to support Democratic candidates.
6/ Many people have proposed plans to respond to the expected result in #JanusvAFSCME. I've looked at many of them and the best result for workers, in my opinion, would result if we replaced the agency shop arrangements with "direct payment" alternatives.
7/ Under direct payment, governmental employers would pay collective
bargaining fees directly to unions, rather than withholding “fair share” dues from employees’ paychecks. This eliminates the First Amendment concern because the government would be the one speaking.
8/ A direct payment system would also lower taxes for workers. Currently the “fair share fees" are counted as income and are subject to payroll taxes and income taxes. A direct payment wouldn't be taxed, which would mean more money in the pockets of workers.
9/ Tomorrow I'll propose this solution as part of my "Blueprint for Resistance," which explains the steps I'll take to resist Trump when I'm elected Illinois Attorney General. In the meantime, check out our website to learn more about the campaign: #twill
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