George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

James Mad⁠i⁠son Ins⁠t⁠⁠i⁠⁠t⁠u⁠t⁠e CEO calls Janus ‘w⁠i⁠n for free speech’

By: Guest Author / 2018

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TALLAHASSEE — James Madison Institute CEO and President Bob McClure says the Janus decision is a win for free speech.

“It’s a very significant decision for public employees and for public employee unions,” McClure said in an interview with The Florida Record. “The Supreme Court gave clear consent that government employees will now have a choice of whether or not to join a public employee labor union.”

McClure said, in the past, those public employee members had no choice.

“They were compelled to pay union dues from their own paychecks,” McClure said. “We saw it as a First Amendment of freedom of speech issue and those rights are now restored. These government workers will not have to pay mandatory dues to a union that they may not even agree with.”

As a right-to-work state, McClure doesn’t think there will be a direct impact in Florida.

“This will primarily affect states that don’t have right-to-work laws. I think with that in mind, that will be where the direct effect is,” McClure said. “It could affect moving around and where businesses choose to grow their business in, but it’s too early to tell right now.”

McClure said two-thirds of Americans and the majority of labor households believe workers should have the right to choose whether to pay union dues.

“That’s 66 percent of Americans and the majority of labor households that don’t feel like they should be compelled to write a check from their own personal account for union dues,” McClure said. “We think this is an important win for free speech and First Amendment rights.”

McClure said what’s interesting about the decision is that the court went even further and said not only do workers have a choice but there’s not even a default.

“They don’t have to opt out. There is no opt-out now,” McClure said. “They simply don’t have to write a check if they don’t want to.”

McClure said like any other business or organization, no one should be compelled to write a check with their hard-earned money if they don’t want to.

“We think it’s a win for free speech,” McClure said.

Mark Janus is a child support specialist for the state government in Illinois. He was asked to be part of the case in 2015. Pat Hughes, an attorney and the co-founder of Liberty Justice Center, represented him.

Janus received free legal representation from Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.