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Besieged American Unions Face New Conservative Legal War

A fresh round of lawsuits paid for by labor opponents pick up where the Supreme Court left off when it blocked a key source of funding.

Supporters Attend 'March For Students And Rally For Respect' Protest Amid Decade Of Cutbacks In Public Education
Photographer: Charles Mostoller/Bloomberg

On the morning of June 27, anti-union advocates scored a victory they’d sought for decades: a groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court ruling siding with an Illinois government employee, Mark Janus, who claimed a First Amendment right not to pay fees to the union that represented him.

Within hours after the high court’s Republican majority applied Janus’s argument to all government workers, a conservative advocacy group called the Buckeye Institute sued on behalf of an Ohio teacher named Jade Thompson. Not a union member, Thompson argued she should have the right to refuse union representation entirely.