No one was surprised when the Janus decision from the
U.S. Supreme Court came down over the summer. In the months since
then, however, locals across California have defied predictions
of a mass exodus of dues-paying members. In fact, after two years
of recruiting new employees and convincing agency fee payers to
join, union ranks are growing.
On June 27, the storm clouds were gathering. The Janus
v. ASFCME decision had just come down from the U.S. Supreme
Court in a 5-4 ruling, overturning 40 years of legal precedent
and marking the abrupt end of union fair share, or agency fee,
for public employees.
Now non-union members who benefit from the hard work of unions
who still represent them at the bargaining table would no longer
be required to pay their fair share.
On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned decades of
precedent and eliminated the right of public sector unions to
collect fair share, or agency fees, from non-members.
The justices ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois fee
payer, in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, overturning the 1977
precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of
Education. Those backing the case clearly hoped the decision
would cripple union operations, but with so much at stake for
educators and public education, CFT members have not only chosen
to stay united but have gained in strength as a result.
The forthcoming Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs.
AFSCME poses a serious threat to union strength. Any
union is only as strong as its membership base, and when unions
have higher percentages of the workers in its unit as active
members, they are stronger at the bargaining table, and better
able to protect its workers from violations of their rights.