Illinois Representative Jeanne Ives (R-42nd) | jeanneives.org
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) thinks the Supreme Court made the only decision it could make in relieving non-union workers of the burden of having to pay union dues for collective bargaining.
“The high court made the right decision is deciding for (plaintiff Mark) Janus in his case against AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees),” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “There is nothing more political than a public sector union in my experience as a taxpayer, city council member and Illinois state representative. I cannot think of a single issue that does not have political overtones as it relates to public sector union contracts.”
In a 5-4 decision, the high court recently ruled in favor of Janus, a child support specialist from Illinois who argued that AFSCME violated his First Amendment rights by engaging in political speech with which he does not agree.
Mark Janus | Illinois Policy Institute
“This decision finally gives workers freedom to have a state government job and also be free of having to be part of a union,” Ives added. “It will completely change the worker's frame of mind when they perform their job and receive their paycheck knowing they are not advancing a political agenda they do not believe in.”
But even with the ruling, Ives admits she doesn’t expect things to change overnight.
“Public sector employers will still be required to negotiate contracts with the union, so initially not much will change especially if their boards are controlled by folks favorable to the unions,” she said. “However, over time as union power diminishes, the public sector employer may be able to reach out more directly to their employees and negotiate better deals for all parties.”
The Illinois Policy Institute estimates that over a 12-year period ending in 2014, five major government unions in Illinois doled out a combined $46 million in political contributions to both Republicans and Democrats.
“As employees opt out of supporting the union and the unions' cash dries up to fund the politicians that have funded the unsustainable largesse of the union contracts, then we will start to see local boards change over to taxpayer-friendly majorities - at least that is the hope,” Ives said. “But, with our collective bargaining laws, prevailing wage rates, binding arbitration rules, and strike provisions still firmly in place, the unions' enormous influence on public policy is secure for right now.”
Janus was represented in the proceedings by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME overturns a 41-year-old ruling in the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case.