Today, the Supreme Court ended compelled union dues and restored First Amendment rights to thousands of public employees across the country. In Janus v. AFSCME, the Court ruled that workers have a right to decide for themselves whether or not to join a union. After 40 years of coerced union dues, public employees will now enjoy the same First Amendment rights as everyone else and will no longer be forced to support organizations they oppose.
CIR has been fighting to restore the free speech rights of public employees since 2013, when it filed Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. In Janus, the Supreme Court relied on the unique experience of the teacher-plaintiffs in Friedrichs to reach its decision. The Court noted that “The public importance of subsidized union speech is especially apparent in this field, since educators make up by far the largest category of state and local government employees, and education is typically the largest component of state and local government expenditures.” And since “Speech in this area also touches on fundamental questions of education policy,” it’s undeniable that compelling individual teachers to support union speech is unconstitutional.
The case is a significant victory that reestablishes the free speech rights of thousands of public employees. After years of fighting for their First Amendment rights, public employees will finally enjoy the right to decide for themselves whether or not to join a union.