In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 ruled that public labor unions could not compel nonmembers from paying agency fees.
By ruling the collection of fees unconstitutional, the high court effectively overturned decades of precedent, provoking an anxious response from public-sector unions.
Union leaders nationwide warned of far-reaching consequences, including severe financial impacts and the potential loss of political clout. Potential budgetary shortfalls could have an impact on union elections, which require robust planning to ensure high voter turnout, security, and the proper execution of these contests.
Since unions are legally mandated to host elections, it’s crucial for unions operating in the public sector to understand the Janus decision, how it may impact your operation more generally, and what can be done to reduce the potential fallout. As unions attempt to reduce costs as a result of the court’s ruling, organizations, for example, may opt for online voting, the most affordable option on the market, but one that could prompt complicated regulatory questions.
It’s also important to scrutinize election-related regulations if considering transitioning to internet voting. Federal regulations on the matter are vague, leaving the question of whether or not the use of online voting meets the correct legal standard. Couple this with a possible change in regulations, the future of these elections and how they will be conducted remains ambiguous.
This guide serves as a primer on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, its impact, and what this means for union elections moving forward.