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CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case Monday that could hurt public-employee unions by outlawing fair share representation fees paid by nonmembers in states that allow them.

A case that could deal a massive financial blow to public-employee unions went before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday. The case is called Janus vs. the American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees. The question is whether states have the right to allow public employee unions to charge nonmembers fair share agency fees. Brian Lee, Executive Director of the Nevada State Education Association is in Washington, D.C. to attend the oral arguments. He says people who exercise their right not to join a union still benefit from the labor agreements it negotiates, so it’s only fair that they contribute.

“The issue here is whether or not the unions must work for free for members who choose not to pay, and whether the states have thestate right to structure how they want to interact with their public employees,” Lee said.

Lee also said the case could muffle the voices of teachers nationwide.

“What they will be doing is silencing the ability of teachers to advocate for the best working conditions, for classrooms that have adequate supplies, better student-teacher ratios and for safer and less crowded schools,” said Lee.

Fair-share agency fees for public service unions were legalized in the 1970’s in the Abood versus the Detroit Teachers case. That case was challenged last year in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association which ended up with a 4-4 tie after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving the fees in place. Now all eyes will be on conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump. A decision is expected by June.


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