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Government & Politics

What the Supreme Court's Decision on Unions Could Mean for Ohio

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Ohio teachers’ unions are keeping a close eye on a U.S. Supreme Court case that could hurt membership numbers. Here's more on how the outcome of an Illinois case against a public employee union could impact Ohio.

Mark Janus chose not to be a member of AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, but is still required to pay a fee for union expenses, such as negotiating contacts. Those fees are not to be used for political speech, but Janus argues you can’t separate the dollars, and his money is being used to promote political views he doesn’t support.

If the Supreme Court agrees, the ruling would result in what’s essentially a national right-to-work law. Ohio unions argue they would take both a financial and membership hit—especially teachers’ unions who represent some 150,000 educators in the state.

But in its friend of the court brief, the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions says right-to-work laws in states like Oklahoma and Michigan resulted in a bump of union membership. It says the union argument is not enough to dispute that the First Amendment rights of workers like Janus are being violated.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week scheduled oral arguments for February.