American Theatre: Theatre Unions Rebuke SCOTUS Union Fee Decision

On Wednesday, June 27, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the case of Janus v. AFSCME. The majority opinion stated that public employees do not have to pay mandatory agency fees to unions, even if they benefit from the actions of those unions. Those fees usually cover the costs of collective bargaining, and are separate from the dues paid by members.

The nine-member court voted 5-4, with the majority opinion stating that the fees violated “the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

Though the plaintiff in the case was an Illinois state government worker, Mark Janus, the decision has the potential to weaken funding for all public sector unions. While membership into a union is optional, unions are legally obligated to bargain for everyone in a particular work group. In the theatre sector, the unions Actors’ Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society have issued statements decrying the decision. READ MORE