Government Employee Who Beat Unions at Supreme Court Sees End to Their ‘Free Ride’


Labor unions no longer get a free ride on the backs of government employees who are forced to pay for political activism they disagree with, the man who successfully challenged the practice at the Supreme Court told The Daily Signal in an interview.

For decades, Illinois state government worker Mark Janus said, union leaders had argued that nonunion employees should pay “fair share” fees so that those workers wouldn’t be “free riders” who enjoyed the benefits of collective bargaining on their behalf without cost.

In 1977, the Supreme Court accepted that argument in its unanimous ruling in a case known as Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

But on Wednesday, in a 5-4 ruling, the high court reversed that decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, finding that its Abood opinion was “poorly reasoned” and that mandatory union fees violate the First Amendment rights of government employees.

Janus, a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services who became the lead plaintiff in the case, turned the tables on the unions’ “free rider” argument in a phone interview with The Daily Signal a few hours after the high court released its decision.

“There are two arguments on this point …read more