Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Trump administration sides against unions in high court fees case

Jim West  ZUMA Press  Newscom Jim West ZUMA Press Newscom
Bennie Garza | 08 December, 2017, 01:06

Pro-union protestors outside the Supreme Court in 2016.

The Trump administration is asking the nation's highest court to overturn a rule that permits public sector employees to be required to pay certain union fees, The Washington Post reported late Wednesday. But the court split 4 to 4 in the case after Justice Antonin Scalia died. The end of the fair share arrangement would be a major blow to the political and financial influence of public-sector unions.

The Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief against the unions in a case brought by a non-union government employee in IL that targets fees his state and many others compel such workers to pay to unions in lieu of dues to fund collective bargaining and other organized labor activities. Twenty-eight states have passed right-to-work laws blocking private-sector unions from collecting fees from union nonmembers, most recently Missouri (though unions will seek to overturn that state's right-to-work law, passed in February, in a referendum next year).

Janus's legal challenge is financed in large part by the conservative Bradley Foundation, which see the case as an opportunity to impose right-to-work rules on public employee unions in all 50 states.

The Trump administration has filed a brief with the court siding with the child-support specialist.

"The government's previous briefs gave insufficient weight to the First Amendment interest of public employees in declining to fund speech on contested matters of public policy", the brief reads, in explaining the change of position.

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