What you should know about Janus v. AFSCME:
The Supreme Court decided to hear the case
The United States Supreme Court has granted review of the case.
There will be an oral argument before the Court in the Spring.
A Decision is most likely is June 2018
What is the case about?
Seeks to declare agency fees in the public sector Unconstitutional
Who is bringing this case?
Agency fee payers? Do you believe that an agency fee payer woke up one day and said, “I want to save $600 per year, so I’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars on this case.”
No, billionaires and corporate entities are funding this litigation. They seek to end your power in the workplace, and to take away your voice and dignity.
What are the chances the Supreme Court does the right thing?
Most likely zero.
You may recall Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association ended in a 4-4 tie in 2016, because Justice Scalia passed away.
However, since then, Donald Trump won and he got to appoint Justice Gorsuch.
Thus far, Gorsuch’s decisions on the Court are far to the right. In fact, in September 2017, Gorsuch gave a speech to the very conservative group that is funding the Janus case, at Trump’s hotel in Washington about Free Speech!
Janus is claiming that agency fees violate his First Amendment rights!
The conservatives now have the majority, 5-4.
Even if Janus did not get decided, there are already at least 6 other case in the pipeline behind Janus on this issue, including another one by the Friedrich’s group—this time it’s Yohn v. California Teachers’ Association.
What does it mean if agency fees are Unconstitutional?
It means that agency fee payers would not pay anything—there will not be agency fee payers. There will be members and non-members.
But non-members would still be covered by the contract & CSEA would still be required to represent them due to “exclusive representation.”
CSEA must represent everyone in the bargaining unit regardless of union member status
Because once the Union is certified to represent a bargaining unit, no other union can represent those workers in those titles.
Otherwise, we would see multiple unions vying to represent the workers in the same titles in the same workplace.
The Unions would fight against each other instead of the employer which would be very inefficient and erode each union’s bargaining power, resulting in weaker contracts.
How does CSEA obtain funds to support its operations?
Does the State give CSEA operating funds? No.
Does CSEA sell goods—cars? Furniture? Appliances? Clothes? No.
CSEA operates on dues.
Right now, CSEA has about a 93% membership rate across the Union. That’s excellent. Why? Because members are choosing to be members.
They don’t have to be members now. It’s voluntary.
That means 7% are agency fee payers and with the wrong decision from the Court in Janus, those fees go away.
The big problem would be those members who decide to leave us.
Our research indicates that approximately 30% will drop membership after the decision.
Remember, the groups that fund these cases will not stop with a win.
Their next step will be to get members to drop membership.
They will contact our members.
They will send them direct mail.
In Washington State, they sent a slick color two-sided document that told state employees that they can drop membership, not pay dues, still get the contractual benefits and have the union represent them.
It is an easy pitch. Save $600/year, get the same benefits.
What they didn’t say:
If enough members drop, the Union will not survive.
Your Contract will go away.
That $600 they save may be the last raise they ever get.
If contract goes away, they may lose paid time off, disciplinary protections and/or representation, health insurance protections, etc.
When would it be effective?
There’s no appeal.
There’s no waiting period.
There’s no state law that can overrule it.
As soon as a decision declares agency fees unconstitutional, CSEA can no longer collect them.
CSEA has not been sitting idly by waiting for the sky to fall.
This fight will take all of us.
No one person can save the Union. If we don’t all do our part and if we all don’t stick together, they will pick us off one at a time. They have the money and the patience.
This is why we must all vow to Never Quit!