The Buckeye Institute Files Amicus Brief in Janus Case

Dec 06, 2017

Unions Have Shown They Can Thrive Without Compulsory Contributions

Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute today filed a new amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, arguing that overturning Abood v. Detroit Board of Education is unlikely to cause significant decline in union membership or spending.

“I recently wrote in Forbes, that ‘Unions have played a significant role in America’s workforce for well over a century.’ But the interests of unions should never trump the constitutional rights of workers like Mr. Janus,” said Robert Alt, president and CEO of The Buckeye Institute. “Forcing Mr. Janus, or any worker for that matter, to pay for speech with which they disagree violates their First Amendment rights, which are some of the most important rights we hold as Americans.”

The brief filed today, follows on the amicus brief Buckeye filed on July 7, which showed that unions can survive without compelled contributions and that this change will lead unions to better serve their members. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME in late February 2018.

Illinois, among other states, forces public sector employees who opt out of the union to pay an agency fee, which is supposed to support the union for collective bargaining services, including lobbying on behalf of the union. As a result, Mr. Janus, a child support specialist with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, is forced to pay fees to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a government union, to keep his job.

In writing about why he filed his case, Mr. Janus said, “I went into this line of work because I care about kids. But just because I care about kids doesn't mean I also want to support a government union. Unfortunately, I have no choice…I am not anti-union. Unions have their place. And some people like them. But unions aren't a fit for everyone. And I shouldn't be forced to pay money to a union if I don't think it does a good job representing my interests.”