United States Supreme Court Invalidates Public-Sector Union Agency Fees


On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court found that “agency fee” arrangements between a union and a government employer violates the First Amendment. Agency fee arrangements (sometimes called “fair share” provisions) require employees to pay a fee to the union designated to represent their bargaining unit even if the employees are not members of that union. The Supreme Court previously found that these arrangements were constitutional if unions used the fees for “collective bargaining activities” and not “ideological activities unrelated to collective bargaining.”

However, in Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court reversed its prior decision and decided that public-sector agency fee arrangements “violate the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”