For Immediate Release
June 27, 2018
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, which strikes down the practice of public sector unions collecting an agency fee from the paychecks of government employees who are not members of the union. As background, a 1977 court decision allowed public sector unions to collect fees from every employee considered part of the collective bargaining unit, even those who did not wish to be members of the union. In a 5-4 decision released today, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus that compulsory fee collections did indeed constitute a violation of workers’ First Amendment rights. As a result of the ruling, public sector unions will no longer be able to forcibly collect agency fees from non-union members.
“This Supreme Court decision rightfully reflects the extent to which public sector unions have evolved over the years and decades to focusing more and more on political activities, campaigns and lobbying on a wide range of legislative issues. While they certainly have the right to engage in these activities, Pennsylvania’s public sector workers should also have the right to refrain from financially supporting the organization if they disagree with union leaders’ political preferences, strategies or positions on issues.
“This ruling does not detract from a union’s ability to seek membership – they will simply be required to recruit and retain members just like the PA Chamber and every other membership association engaged in lobbying or politics here in Harrisburg.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.