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July 6, 2018 - 3:26pm

County will stop deduction of union fees for 22 county employees in light of SCOTUS ruling

posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, notify.

Starting with this payroll, 22 Genesee County employees will no longer have money deducted from their paychecks to help support the Civil Service Employees Association, a union that represents 214 county employees, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

The change is a result of a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that week, Janus v. AFSCME  (analysis by SCOTUSBlog), that struck down rules that allowed fees to be charged to non-union members who were employed by a government agency under terms of a collective bargaining agreement.

There are four unions representing 353 county employees, Gsell said, but only CSEA was receiving fees from non-members.

Interim City Manage Matt Worth said there are no City of Batavia employees who are covered by collective bargaining who are not members of their respective unions.

According to a Gannett News Service report, 31,000 state employees from throughout New York, will cease paying the fee this week.

Federal employees covered by collective bargaining are not required to pay the fee, and according to Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion in Janus, 28 states prohibit such fees.

Unions at the federal level and in these states have not been thrown into “pandemonium” nor has there been “conflict and disruption” without these fees, Alito noted.

The suit over union fees that eventually made its way to the justices was initiated by Mark Janus, a child-support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He objected to the fees because they went to such political speech intended to influence government agencies on issues such as salaries, pensions, and benefits for government employees.

That, he said, violated his First Amendment rights by forcing him to support speech that did not necessarily conform to his personal views.

“In simple terms, the First Amendment does not permit the government to compel a person to pay for another party’s speech just because the government thinks that the speech furthers the interests of the person who does not want to pay,” Alito wrote.

Alito noted that public spending, including the “mounting costs of public-employee wages, benefits, and pensions” – has skyrocketed in the past four decades. As a result, collective bargaining has gained a new political significance making the issue of fees to support that speech a bigger First Amendment issue.

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan warned that the ruling could disrupt “thousands of ongoing contracts involving millions of employees.”

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: The county schedule for payroll deductions for union fees are: 

  • AFSCME: $18.76 bi-weekly
  • DSA: $22 bi-weekly
  • SEA: $15.55 bi-weekly
  • CSEA: bi-weekly range is $18.73 - $30.15

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