Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that dealt a stunning blow to organized labor on Wednesday, touted the 5-4 ruling issued by the conservative majority as a bigger win than expected for government workers who will no longer be required to pay fees to unions.
“I’m just ecstatic, and fantastically excited about it, because we now have about 5 million workers -- government, private sector workers -- that can now make their own choice that they had not previously been able to do,” Janus said during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney, just minutes after the court handed down its ruling.
The case, known as Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, stipulates that it is unconstitutional to require government workers to pay a “fair share” fee to unions for the protection offered to them under collective bargaining if they choose not to be members. Now, employees hired by the government will be required to opt-in to the union instead of being forced to opt-out, Janus said.
A child-support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Janus argued that non-members who are forced to pay a fee are thus required to support unions’ increasingly politically focused causes, whether they support them or not. The high court said the mandated fee violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.
“I don’t want to be forced to pay something to somebody just to hold a government job,” Janus said. “I want to make my own decision, and I shouldn’t have to pay a fee just to do something that I like to do.”
As a result of the court’s decision, public unions could lose out on fees from workers who choose not to join but still want the benefits offered by unions. Unions said that 5 million government employees in 24 states and the District of Columbia will be affected by the ruling.
Critics warned that Janus was a pawn of the wealthy who were exploiting the situation by funding this movement, although Janus dismissed the accusations.