Fate Of Public Union Agency Fees In Hands Of High Court

By Shannon Farmer, Meredith Swartz Dante and Anu Susan Thomas (March 6, 2018, 4:20 PM EST) -- On Feb. 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the closely watched Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees[1]. The issue before the court is whether it violates the constitutional rights of public employees to require them to pay "agency fees," or compulsory union dues, to the unions who represent them, or face termination from employment for refusing to pay. Dues and member contributions are the primary sources of revenue for unions — they are used to fund the representation of existing members, organization activities designed to gain new members, and political activity. Under current law in many states, unions can also collect limited fees, referred to as agency fees or "fair share" fees, from nonmembers under the theory that these nonmembers derive a benefit from the union's collective bargaining services....

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