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Janus v. AFSCME Looms as the next Battle for Teacher Unions

Thursday, December 21, 2017
Levittown United Teacher's Joe Romano provides an insight into the Janus v AFSCME case

In March of 2016, the United States Supreme Court rendered a split 4-4 ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The plaintiff, in that case, was asking the court to find that employees represented by a union did not have to pay a fee for the benefits provided to them by that union.

In the weeks preceding the Friedrichs ruling, most experts predicted a defeat for unions given the past rulings and ideologies of the justices. However, the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, an almost certain supporter of the plaintiff's case, turned a 5-4 decision in favor of Friedrichs into a 4-4 deadlock. The tie in the Supreme Court pushed the legal decision back to the lower California Appeals Court that had previously ruled in the union's favor.

Though defeated in this attempt, anti-union special interest groups have continued to bring to trial other cases on similar grounds in search of a different result. Last summer, these groups were able to bring the Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME) case to the Supreme Court. The court will hear this case during their current session.
 

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