The Supreme Court Is Winding Down Its Term… But a Big Labor Case Remains

Scales of Justice - Northbrook, IL Employment LawyersToday, the Supreme Court issued four decisions from its October 2017 term, leaving just six cases remaining.  So far, the most impactful cases affecting labor and employment have been the decision in Lewis v. Epic Systems, which we blogged about here, and China Agritech v. Resh, a case that limits the timeframe in which employees may file successive class action lawsuits after a court denies class certification in a prior case.

One very important labor law case, Janus v. AFSCME, has yet to be decided, and we anticipate that the Court will issue its decision next week.  Mark Janus is a child support specialist with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  He is not a member of the union, but pursuant to the 1977 Supreme Court ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, he is required to pay a fee referred to as a “fair share fee” to cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining.   Janus contends that this fair share fee violates his First Amendment Rights, because he claims the fee actually subsidizes union initiatives to influence government policies to which he is opposed.

The outcome of this case could have a tremendous impact on public-sector unions in Illinois and elsewhere.  The Illinois Economic Policy Institute projects that hundreds of thousands of public-sector employees would opt-out of paying union dues or fair share fees if they had the choice.  The Supreme Court just might provide them that choice beginning next week.  We’ll provide more information on this case one the Supreme Court enters its opinion, which could come as soon as Monday.

Image Credit: From Pixabay, Creative Commons license, free for commercial use.