There is widespread confusion about what the recent Supreme Court decision in the Janus case really means for unions. Justice Ruth Ginsberg, who wrote a strongly worded dissenting opinion, recently offered a concise explanation in easy to understand, non-legalese.
Public sector workers who don’t want to join a union don’t have to, and since 1947 they cannot be forced to pay union dues. This was already the state of affairs before this court ruling. However, public sector unions are REQUIRED BY LAW to provide services to both members and nonmembers who are part of the bargaining unit. What unions have done in the past is charged non-members fees for services.(Note: this is similar to what many membership based businesses do. For example, Amazon Prime). What this ruling does is make it illegal for unions to charge non-members fees for services provided. In other words, it requires public sector unions to provide services for free to those who don’t feel like paying for those services. NON members who do not pay for those services can sue unions for failing to provide the same services that they provide members (that is already true, before this ruling, and will remain so).. So what is wrong with this ruling is that the government is requiring unions to accept unreimbursed liability and provide unreimbursed services to anyone who feels like being a free rider, for whatever reason. It ensconces in law the “right” of nonmembers to be free riders who benefit from unions’ services without paying for them. What an odd thing for conservatives to support. I bet they wouldn’t want that to be the law for whatever businesses or nonprofits they own or operate. Imagine if a restaurant was required by law to provide anything on its menu to anyone who walked in and ordered it, but prohibited from charging anyone who didn’t feel like paying for it. That is the position that this ruling has put public sector unions in.