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TRENTON, N.J. – Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey (AFP-NJ) on Tuesday reacted to the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments for a landmark case for worker freedom and free speech, Janus v AFSCME. The case will decide the constitutionality of forcing more than 5 million government workers in 22 non-right-to-work states, including New Jersey, to pay fees to a union as a condition of keeping their job.
“The Janus case could be our lightning in a bottle for worker freedom in New Jersey,” said AFP-NJ state director Erica Jedynak. “We believe a decision for the plaintiff can be the first step in turning around failing labor policies, as it could expand right-to-work protections to all public sector employees in the entire country, including the Garden State.”
The petitioner of the case, Mark Janus, is a child support specialist for the state of Illinois. He is challenging the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union for automatically deducting union fees from his paycheck. Currently, all government employees represented by a union in Illinois and 21 other states, including New Jersey, are required to accept union representation and pay union fees or risk being fired.
Janus is arguing that his First Amendment right to free speech and free association is being infringed upon by mandating a portion of his paycheck be allocated to the AFSCME. Since union collective bargaining in government is inherently political, as unions bargain on policies that directly impact public policy, government employees are forced to fund political speech they may not agree with, and Janus objects to the collective bargaining policies of AFSCME.
“AFP-NJ: Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey Releases Video Highlighting NJEA Union Bullying Tactics,” Insider NJ, 9/6/17
“NJEA Members, It’s Time to Opt Out!” New Jersey 101.5,” 8/17/16
“Americans for Prosperity Launches “Know Your Rights” Initiative in Concert with National Employee Freedom Week,” AFP Press Release, 8/15/16
“JEDYNAK: Right-to-work could jump-start N.J.’s economy,” Asbury Park Press, 8/4/17
For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afphq.org or 703.887.7724
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org