The Illinois state worker behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public workers cannot be forced to pay union dues said Thursday morning that the unions will be forced to do a better job selling themselves.

“A lot of these unions have asked for, and received, the ability to inclusively, collectively bargain for everybody,” Mark Janus said during an interview with Albany radio. “Now that this decision has come down, they’re going to have to come out and sell a product, if you will, and they will have to prove to the individuals that there is a definite benefit for being part of the union.”

Janus — who said the decision will save him about $50 a month — said it was more about the issue than the money. He called it “mainly a matter of choice.”
“I did not have a choice when I went to work for the state of Illinois as to whether I wanted to be part of the union,” he said.
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision released Wednesday ruled in Janus’ favor over AFSCME that public sector unions cannot force employees to pay dues unless they affirmatively sign up to be part of the labor organization.
The decision has been blasted by the labor sector and many Democratic officials as a damaging blow to the politically powerful public unions.
Janus does not agree.
“I don’t see it happening at all,” he said, noting the federal government for years has not required forced agency fees and dues. “They are still going to have collective bargaining. They will still have their union membership.”
He said, “all we’re asking for is the choice to make our own decision. Up until (Wednesday) we didn’t. We were forced to do what they wanted us to do.”
Janus also dismissed as “ludicrous” the argument from the labor side that workers who choose not to join a union should pay fees because they benefit from the collectively bargained contracts.
In New York, the Supreme Court decisions could impact 1.2 million public-sector workers, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Currently, some 200,000 government workers in the state have chosen not to join unions immediately. The decision that they don’t have to pay dues will save them over $110 million a year while another million who signed union membership cards, believing they’d have no choice but to pay the union, will have the option to reconsider, the Empire Center analysis found.
Despite his legal fight, Janus insisted he is not anti-union.
“If somebody wants to voluntarily go out and join a union, God bless them,” he said.
With the court fight behind him, Janus, 65, said he will just return to his job as a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
He said during the three years the case has gone on, he has not faced workplace retaliation, though he has been shunned in the hallways by some union members. But he said “a lot more people would come up and thank me for what I was doing and were very supportive.”

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