Janus v. AFSCME

Mark Janus

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark case Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 is a groundbreaking win for public employees in New York and across the country.

Workers like Mark Janus, the Illinois child support specialist who brought the lawsuit, will no longer be required to pay a union as a condition of employment. In New York, this means that roughly 1.2 million public-sector workers are now free to choose to do their jobs without paying a government union.

Public-sector unions devote virtually all their resources to lobbying and collectively bargaining contracts with the government—activities that are inherently political. For this reason, Janus successfully argued that forcing him to support a government union violated his First Amendment rights.

This is a groundbreaking win for public employees like Mark in New York and other states where they have long been compelled to support inherently political activities as a condition of employment. Roughly 200,000 New York government workers who chose not to join unions immediately stand to save over $110 million a year. Another one million who signed union membership cards, believing they’d have no choice but to pay the union, will have the option to reconsider.

The Janus decision boils down to allowing workers the fundamental right to choose. A win for Janus is ultimately a win for workers and for all New York taxpayers.

Learn More

Dues & Dont’s
Empire Center Project
The Empire Center launched “Dues and Don’ts” to help public employers fulfill their obligation to educate employees about their rights without fear of improper practice charges under the Taylor Law.

The Janus Stakes
Empire Center Report
This report provides an overview of union representation, finances, lobbying and political activity in New York State, calculates the impact of the Janus ruling and makes recommendations designed to strengthen the rights of government workers and the oversight of union finances.

Taylor Made: The Cost and Consequences of New York’s Public-Sector Labor Laws
Empire Center Report
Informed by the perspective of an experienced labor negotiator, this report reviews the background of New York’s Taylor Law and highlights provisions and precedents in need of state legislative reform.

After Janus, what now? What the Supreme Court’s major labor decision means for NY
New York Daily News
“…what does the ruling mean for the fiscal future of the Empire State, home of the country’s most unionized public sector? It depends, as always, on our elected officials.”

Cuomo’s doomed pro-union tricks
New York Post
“It was all a calculated distraction from the reality of the Supreme Court’s ruling—which puts the First Amendment constitutional rights of workers above the economic interests of government unions.”

The Janus Ultimatum
NYTorch Blog
“The Supreme Court decision also calls into question the constitutionality of a newly enacted state law designed to make it more difficult for New York public employees to quit paying union dues.”

Supreme Court’s union ruling helps balance the scales for taxpayers
New York Post Editorial
“If unions want dues-paying members, they’ll have to convince workers it’s in their interest to join — not rope them in via laws that force them to pay fees no matter what.”

Janus Case High Stakes for Public Employee Unions
Albany Times Union
“…the world won’t end for government unions if workers suddenly have a choice. Instead, unions will have to treat their members more like customers and work harder to provide real value for dues dollars—which, in turn, will mean focusing more on member concerns and dialing back the far-flung ideological and political advocacy in which they now often engage.”

Governor’s Next Giveaway to NY’s Public Unions?
New York Post
“Cuomo has been fairly obviously scrambling to pander to labor unions ahead of September’s gubernatorial primary. It would be a shame if he stomped on the First Amendment in the process.”

Unions Scrambling to Lock Up Members Before the Supreme Court Gives Them Choice
New York Post
“A ruling for Janus would be a win for workers, forcing unions to focus more on treating their members like paying customers—and less on squeezing taxpayers.”

The Coming Supreme Court Gift to New York
New York Post Editorial
“Someone should tell the gov that if the Supreme Court strikes this long-overdue blow for freedom in the workplace, it will boost New York’s competitive economic position.”

Senate Set to OK Union Trap Law
NYTorch Blog
“…a half-century after the Taylor Law first cleared the way for public unionization in New York, what’s behind the sudden union push for legislation purporting to merely clarify the membership process?”

The Budget’s Big Gift to Unions
NYTorch Blog
“Buried in the state budget bills rushed to passage under cover of Passover, Good Friday evening and the Easter holiday was the top item on the New York government unions’ wish list—a provision designed to trap public employees into paying union dues.”