Court watchers anticipate that the United States Supreme Court will issue a decision shortly in the case of Janus v. AFSCME et al.. This case involves the constitutionality of compelling public employees in unionized workplaces to pay labor union “Fair Share” fees even though they do not wish to be part of a union. There is a strong possibility that the forced payment of Fair Share fees in support of union activities will be found unconstitutional.
Although the law in question in the Janus case is an Illinois law and is not identical to the Pennsylvania Public Employee Fair Share Fee Law, it is highly likely that a Supreme Court decision finding that the Illinois law is unconstitutional would render Pennsylvania’s law unconstitutional as well. Although the exact legal effect cannot be determined until a decision is issued, public sector employers should prepare for the possibility that the Fair Share Fee Law could be declared unconstitutional. To that end, public sector employers should first review their existing Collective Bargaining Agreements to determine whether the Agreements contain Fair Share provisions. Next, employers should ascertain if any of their employees are currently paying Fair Share fees pursuant to a provision in an applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement. If any employees are paying such fees, the employer should determine how many employees would be affected by a shift in the law.
The School and Municipal Law Team at Maiello, Brungo, and Maiello will continue to monitor the status of this case and will swiftly alert its clients when the Court issues a decision. As always, please contact our attorneys with any questions regarding this or any other matter.