Abood said a union may constitutionally spend money for expressing political views, such as the support of political candidates, but the spending must be financed from charges paid by employees who do not object to advancing the political ideas.
The justices agreed to hear a case brought by a non-union government employee in IL that targets fees that 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.
This suit alleges the fees force workers to support unions that are essentially lobbies that don't necessarily share their beliefs.
One last point: Janus involves only public-sector unions, or unions composed of state employees.
Pennsylvania's highest court is reviving a lawsuit that says the state is failing in its obligation to provide an adequate education to public school students. To put it another way, conservatives argue that nonmembers who benefit from a public-sector union's collective-bargaining efforts have a constitutional right to be "free riders".
The Illinois case involves Mark Janus, a state employee who says Illinois law violates his free speech rights by requiring him to pay fees to subsidize AFSCME, which represents tens of thousands of Illinois workers. But conservative justice Antonin Scalia died a month later and the short-handed court ended up with a 4-4 split in April 2016 that left the law intact but set no nationwide precedent.
The case will be heard this fall with a decision expected by late June 2018.
Twenty-two states have not banned agency fee requirements, covering about 5 million public-sector workers.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest public employee union in IL and the one at the center of the lawsuit, called the case "yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor". Ending the so-called agency fees at the heart of the case has always been a goal of USA conservatives.
It was just over a year ago that the same question was before the court, but the challenge to those mandatory payments was unsuccessful then because there were four progressives on the court who liked the idea of forcing people to fund speech they don't support.
The term opens Monday with an argument over class-action lawsuits by workers who have previously agreed to press any grievances as individual claims in arbitration.
The challengers in the new case, Janus v.
Unions had been bracing for an unfavorable ruling after oral arguments in January indicated that a majority of the justices were skeptical of the fair share arrangement. "This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor", said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.