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Janus v. AFSCME Reaffirmed the First Amendment Rights of Public Employees. What Happens Now?

Jul 3, 2018 by AFP

On June 27, the Supreme Court expanded worker freedom for more than 5 million government workers nationwide.

In Janus v. AFSCME, the Court reversed more than 40 years of precedent that allowed unions in 22 states to forcibly take what they call “agency fees” from the paychecks of government employees.

Now, public sector workers have a choice when deciding whether to join or pay a union.

This means that public sector unions will have to do what every other organization in a free society does to stay afloat: Persuade people to join. Unions can do this by offering benefits, perks and other enticements to make membership attractive to public-sector employees.

In the meantime, many public-sector workers might decide union membership is not for them. The Supreme Court made clear the First Amendment guarantees them that right. They are free to decide how to best spend their time, money and advocacy. Most importantly, they are free to exercise their rights without risking their jobs.

A key component of the ruling is that public employees will need to “opt in” to a union to retain membership. This means unions representing public employees now need consent from workers before deducting dues. Previously, leaving a union in many states required workers to actively opt out every year though a lengthy, burdensome process.

Freedom of speech is a central guarantee of the Constitution, and we applaud the Supreme Court for upholding it.

The fight for worker freedom is far from over. Sign this petition to let lawmakers know that employee freedom is a must!