CIR Urges Supreme Court To End Compulsory Union Dues

On Wednesday December 6th, CIR filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of Ryan Yohn and six other teacher plaintiffs from Yohn v. CTA. Our brief asks the court to end compulsory union dues and burdensome opt-out requirements when it considers Janus v. AFSCME in early 2018.

CIR’s brief draws on crucial information obtained in Yohn and makes three pivotal arguments.

First, we argue that laws compelling a person’s speech are in direct conflict with the First Amendment right to decide which causes and beliefs teachers will or will not support. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”

Second, we argue that even if there are other compelling interests in seeming conflict with the First Amendment, the union has not put forward any persuasive interests in this case. Our brief cuts through some of the most common misconceptions around the case. We point out that a victory for worker’s First Amendment rights won’t bankrupt unions and won’t hinder the state’s ability to manage its employees. On the contrary, unions are thriving in many right-to-work states.

Finally, we ask the Court to end burdensome opt-out requirements so that unions cannot try to manipulate a Janus victory into a dead letter ruling. Some unions have already taken steps to make sure that non-members will continue having to opt-out of paying dues even if the Court upholds First Amendment rights in Janus. We argue that “just like any other political advocacy group, a public-sector union may collect donations from nonmembers only by their affirmative consent.”

You can read CIR’s brief here. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case sometime in early 2018.