Seventh Circuit ruling approves union fees

  • March 22, 2017

Via @Politico Pro

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously for organized labor in a challenge to fair-share fees brought by two public employees in Illinois.

The workers, Mark Janus and Brian Trygg, argued that an Illinois law compelling union non-members to pay fees to unions that bargain collectively on their behalf violates workers’ freedom of speech.

The appeals court dismissed Trygg’s challenge, writing that he didn’t raise First Amendment claims in earlier litigation with the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Teamsters leaders in Illinois praised the ruling.

The judges ruled that Janus’s claim was addressed in an earlier Supreme Court decision — Abood v. Detroit Board of Education — a precedent that can be overturned only by the high court. Janus argued against paying fees to the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees.

The workers were backed by the National Right to Work Foundation. The organization’s president, Mark Mix, said the ruling came as no surprise and simply cleared the way for the Supreme Court to take up the question of whether to overturn Abood.

“No one should be forced to pay a union dues or fees just for the privilege of working for their own government, and this decision means the case can now move up to the United States Supreme Court,” Mix said in a written statement.