It’s the anniversary of a decision to protect workers’ right to free speech »Publications» Washington Policy Center

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Three years ago, the United States Supreme Court treated public servants properly: it ruled in Janus v. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees to defend workers’ rights under the First Amendment.

The move that favored Mark Janus meant that government employees everywhere would no longer be required to join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of their employment. It was refreshing for teachers and other public servants in Washington. Before Janus, they had to donate part of their salary to a union that often supported causes they didn’t agree with. Imagine paying for material that arrived in your mailbox and told you how wrong you were about the x, y, and z issues.

The Janus decision was also refreshing for taxpayers, as their tax dollars employ government employees. Many of us disagreed with the way we were treated and our free speech rights ignored. Unions do not only deal with labor issues, they engage in political activities. The Janus decision gives individuals the right to make a choice that matches their personal beliefs.

Public unions have fought for employment laws and practices to help them get around the loss of money that employees can get out of the union. While employment may automatically prompt a person to join a union, for example, it is up to the employee to ask human resources how to opt out. Workplaces can also create barriers, such as allowing only certain times to withdraw from a union.

We will maintain our posts to help public sector employees know their Janus rights. Workers can also find out more at optouttoday.com. The third anniversary of the Janus decision would be a great time to do so.


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