On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that labor unions can no longer require public employees to pay fees if they are not a member of a union. Job positions that this ruling may apply to can include publicly-employed teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, caregivers, and state supervisors, among others.
A union is a group of people that work together to negotiate improved working conditions, wages, and benefits. If you are part of a union, you are charged membership dues that fund various union activities, such as collective bargaining and political lobbying. There are plenty of benefits for union members: according to Union Plus, union members make 30% more pay than non-members, have a guaranteed pension, and are more likely to have job-related health coverage.
If you are a public worker but are not in a union, you are considered a non-member. Non-members still have access to some of the same union benefits, but are unable to negotiate the same way union members can. Before June 27, non-member public employees in some states (including California) were still required to pay agency fees that cover the cost of union benefits to non-members, including collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustments.
The Supreme Court noted that requiring a non-member to pay dues to a union with which they may not see eye-to-eye was a violation of their free speech. In the majority opinion, Justice Alito argued that employees should have the right to deny union support if they don’t agree with the union’s actions or messaging.
This ruling is expected to free more than 5 million public employees from supporting unions they do not want to be a part of, and will likely cause a decrease in union membership and funding.
If you are a public employee and are being charged non-member fees by a union, contact PARRIS today for a free case consultation. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience fighting relentlessly for those whose rights have been violated.