Illinois state government stops collecting ‘fair share’ fees for AFSCME, other government worker unions
The state will stop deducting agency fees from workers who have opted out of the union, effective immediately.
As of June 27, the state of Illinois will no longer deduct union agency fees from the paychecks of nonmember public employees. Previously, Illinois workers were forced to pay fees to government unions as a condition of their employment.
This means Illinois state workers such as Mark Janus, who did not want to send money to the union just to keep his job, will no longer see union fees deducted from their paychecks.
In an email sent to all state employees, Tim McDevitt of Illinois’ Department of Central Management Services announced the state will stop deducting agency fees, also known as “fair share” fees, from the paychecks of state employees, effective immediately.
The change in policy comes in light of the June 27 Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision.
The 5-4 decision ruled government workers have a First Amendment right to choose whether to support a union and cannot be forced to pay agency fees as a condition of employment.
Beyond fair share fees, the state could stop collecting money on behalf of unions from all state workers – not just nonmembers. The court held that employees must “clearly and affirmatively consent” before any fees are taken from their paychecks. That signifies government employees must actively opt into union membership, potentially relieving millions of workers from the cumbersome obligation of “opting out.”
It should not matter whether a worker previously signed a membership card or authorized a dues deduction, because the conditions of membership versus non-membership were different. Those who chose to be members were not presented with constitutional options, meaning that consent was not fully informed.
McDevitt emphasized that employees who opt out of the union will receive the same employment benefits that union members receive, such as healthcare benefits and retirement benefits.
Over the past 10 years, AFSCME headquarters spent more money on political activities and lobbying efforts than it did on representing public employees. Before the Janus ruling, public employees were forced to support the union, even if they disagreed with its politics.
The Janus decision gives more than 5 million government workers – including hundreds of thousands in Illinois – a choice on where to spend their hard-earned money, recognizing their fundamental rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.