• SCOTUS Decision: Unions Cannot Require Public Employees to Pay Dues
  • July 3, 2018
  • Indiana’s government employers should take note of a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision – Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 – which effectively prevents unions from collecting fees from nonconsenting government employees.


    In Janus, a government employee challenged his employer’s policy that forced employees to pay union “agency” or “fair-share” fees despite the fact that employees were not members of the union. These policies required all employees who were covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay a fee that was applied to the union’s cost of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance management.

    In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court determined that the First Amendment’s free speech clause barred state or public-sector unions from deducting fees from nonconsenting employees. Instead, an employee must choose to support the union before the union could collect agency fees or any other form of payment from the employee. According to the dissenting justices, this decision could result in the underfunding of public employee unions, which could make it difficult for public sector unions to adequately serve their members.

    In light of this change, government employers and public sector unions should audit their fee collection policies to comply with this new decision.