February 22, 2018
Washington DC — CEPR's Senior Economist, Dean Baker, issued the following statement regarding the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31:
“The key issue is whether the government can sign contracts with workers that require everyone who benefits from a union share in the cost of operating the union. The argument against such contracts is that they require workers to support a union that they may not like.
“It is difficult to see how this is any different from all sorts of conditions that employers, even in the public sector, can and do impose on workers. Workers can be required to wear uniforms that they may not like. The government may buy health insurance for workers from a company that some of the workers consider corrupt. Or, it may invest their retirement money with financial companies that engage in what workers view as bad practices.
“No one questions the right for the government to make these decisions for workers. If workers are sufficiently bothered, their option is to look for another job. The plaintiff in Janus is effectively arguing that allowing workers to impose a condition on their coworkers somehow violates their rights in ways that the government, contracting on their behalf, does not. It is difficult to see the logic in this position.”
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