While part of Trenton focuses on the state budget showdown, the real focus in Trenton today is on the U.S. Supreme Court and a possible decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, which could force public-sector labor unions from mandating dues or fees from nonmembers.
Today is the final day of the court’s term, which means a ruling in Janus case is likely to be released in the next few hours.
New Jersey is among the states that allow unions to collect dues or fees from those who choose not to join the union.
Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker, says that being forced to pay union dues violates his right of free speech, since he is contributing to fund political activities for which he disagrees. The unions say that nonmembers will still get the benefits they negotiate without having to pay for them. Unions must represent all employees once they become the exclusive representative.
Public employee unions in New Jersey, like the New Jersey Education Association and the Communications Workers of America, are among the most powerful political forces in the state. A loss in membership would result in a loss of revenue that could reduce the amount public employee unions spend on state political campaigns.