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Labor’s Last Stand

One of the nation’s largest public sector unions defended mandatory unionism in a brief filed to the Supreme Court Friday.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 is fighting to maintain a government agency’s right to mandate union dues or fee payments as a condition of employment. Several AFSCME members in Illinois have petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse court precedent set in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) on the grounds that they are being forced to subsidize political advocacy. Twenty-two states mandate those fee payments, while 26 prohibit such fees.
AFSCME said such payments are needed to prevent a free rider problem in which workers benefit from union organizing efforts and advantageous contracts, while refusing to pay for those services. Since union contract terms, including salaries and grievance procedures, extend to all workers in a bargaining unit, rather than just union members, it is only

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