Foundation continues to assist workers fighting union boss violations of landmark First Amendment Supreme Court decision
Washington, DC (June 25, 2021) – Three years ago, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the landmark Janus v. AFSCME case, holding that it is unconstitutional to force public sector workers to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. In that case the plaintiff, Mark Janus, was represented by veteran National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney William Messenger, who presented oral arguments before the High Court in February 2018.
Foundation President Mark Mix issued the following statement to commemorate the decision’s three year anniversary on June 27:
“Today we celebrate a victory for public sector workers across the country. In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court affirmed that it is unconstitutional to force public sector workers to pay money to unions just to keep their jobs. The Court held that public sector union officials cannot take workers’ money without first obtaining their affirmative consent. For decades, union bosses hadn’t bothered to get workers’ consent, taking money even from those who object to unions and their efforts to influence public policy.
Yet, despite the High Court’s clear ruling, even three years later, Big Labor continues the widespread violation of workers’ First Amendment Janus rights.
From coast-to-coast, union bosses and their allies in state and local government have enacted policies to trap workers into forced dues by declaring that workers can only stop paying dues during an ‘escape period’ that often lasts only a few days each year. These policies turn the Constitution on its head, by claiming that so long as you permit someone to exercise their First Amendment rights for a brief designated time, you can deliberately deny those rights the rest of the year.
This blatant violation of the law is frustrating, but it’s what you’d expect when Big Labor spends billions in members’ dues money lobbying the government and hiring an army of lawyers to argue against workers’ rights in court. Luckily, the National Right to Work Foundation is fighting back for independent-minded workers.
Foundation attorneys successfully defeated several union boss ‘escape period’ schemes, including one that affected nearly 30,000 Ohio public employees. But we haven’t stopped there, the Foundation now has 14 active cases challenging ‘escape periods,’ including two cases for teachers in New Jersey and Chicago that have been appealed to the Supreme Court. If either of these cases ends in another Foundation Supreme Court victory, it would eliminate ‘escape period’ schemes across the country and further solidify the groundbreaking protections won for public sector workers in the Janus case. Though union bosses will continue to resist, the Foundation will not stop fighting until the First Amendment rights of every worker in America are honored.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in about 200 cases nationwide per year.