The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act authorized public employee unions to collect “fair share” or “agency shop” fees from nonmember employees. Allowed under the 1977 Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Illinois law allowed the AFSCME union to steal $535 per year from Mark Janus and every nonunion employee. Janus sued, arguing the law violates the First Amendment. PLF and an array of allies filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Janus at the U.S. Supreme Court. And in a 5—4 decision announced June 27, 2018, the High Court overruled Abood, agreeing with Janus that the 1977 ruling is incompatible with the First Amendment.
Mark Janus became fed up with the AFSCME union stealing $535 from his paycheck each year and decided to do something about it. Janus worked for the state of Illinois. And though he wasn’t a union member, state law allowed AFSCME to collect so-called “fair share” or “agency fees” from non-member employees.
The 1977 Supreme Court decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education provided cover for states to authorize union theft of nonunion wages to pay for politically fraught collective bargaining with the state.
Janus sued, saying the First Amendment requires workers’ consent before a single penny of their wages can line union coffers. Janus took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where he asked the Justices to revisit and overrule Abood for its blatant First Amendment violation.
PLF and an array of allies filed a friend of the court brief which argued that it was high time to get rid of Abood, this legal aberration that let states rob individuals’ First Amendment rights so public employee unions could rob individuals’ paychecks to support collective politicking.
In a 5-4 decision announced June 27, 2018, the High Court overruled Abood, agreeing with Janus that the 1977 ruling is simply incompatible with the First Amendment. The impact of this decision will be felt for years to come as Janus, the Constitution, and individual liberty prevailed.