Supreme Court Holds That Requiring Union Agency Service Fees For Public Sector Union Non-Members Is Unconstitutional

In a 5-4 decision released this morning the Supreme Court decided Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, U.S. No. 16-466 (2018). The Court held that the Illinois statute which allows public sector unions to charge non-member employees an agency service fee for activities connected with their collective bargaining activities as exclusive representative violates the First Amendment rights of those non-members. The Court therefore overruled its earlier decision in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed., 431 U.S. 209 (1977).

This decision has clear implications for the continuing validity of the service fee clause in G.L. c. 150E, §2, which allows public employees to refrain from joining a public sector union and from being involved in its activities “except to the extent of making such payment of service fees to an exclusive representative as provided in [G.L. c. 150E, §12].”

The Janus decision addresses a number of points and we will be providing a more detailed analysis of the decision and its implications in the near future.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact any one of our attorneys.

This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.