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The Supreme Court Decision Janus v AFSCME

Mark Janus, Plantiff

The Annie Frey Show
June 27, 2018 - 3:58 pm

AF: I want to get right to our guest, Mark Janus, a name that you probably are familiar with right now, joins us. Mark Janus, you are a hero to me, I am a resident of the state of Illinois, and I've been following this case for quite some time. Not as long as you have, but I just want to thank you for giving us some time to come on here. I was gonna tell your story, but since you're here, can you tell us, tell the listeners why you decided to bring this case to court in the first place and what it feels like and what it feels like to have this type of victory today?

MJ: Well, this type of victory is, is just fantastic, you know, I'm elated, I'm excited, um, and , you know, it's not necessarily my victory per say, it's for the 5 million public sector workers across 22 states, uh, that includes Illinois, that now have a choice and a voice to decide for themselves whether they want to be a part of a union or not. And they are not going to have to pay this agency fee, uh, that uh, the unions collect in order to work for a public, uh, entitiy. And that's the most important part of this whole, um, decision today that we've been working on for the last 3 years or so.

AF: Yeah, it is quite something. In this landmark labor case the court ruled that forced union fees are unconstitutional. Um, when, when those fees were being taken out of your paycheck, what kind of things, like, where, where do these dollars go to. I don't think everyone understands the, the distance between where the money is in your paycheck, and where it arrives eventually. How can that be offensive potentially to the person who doesn't actually have a choice in whether that, that money gets taken out?

MJ: Well, the, the offensive part of it is that we actually really don't know where that money goes. Now...

AF: Hmmm, true.

MJ:...the unions claim that it goes strictly for, uh, collective bargaining contract negotiations, uh, but my contention is okay you have a bargaining committee of let's say a dozen people. Does it cost the union any more money to bargain for 5,000 people as it does for let's say 10,000 people? 

AF: Mmm-hmm

MJ: And so, when you strictly look at it on an economy's scale like a, like a small business would, where do they need all this extra money and why? Um, and the nebulus part of this is, is we really don't know where this money is going. We've asking for accounting, uh, they put it forth in Hudson agreements, but quite frankly, uh, you know, they can kinda classify it any way they want, and it's uh, you know, some people would say it's dark money. Uh, I wouldn't go there, but, um, some people would.

AF: Yeah. Well, you served as a, uh, are you still currently working you're a child support specialist for the state of Illinois?

MJ: Yes, yeah, I go back to work Monday.

AF: Well, that should be fun.

MJ: Oh yeah, I can't wait.

AF: Uh, so what, you know, what, when, if that money doesn't go to the union, I've seen some stories, I've seen some videos you've done, there are things that you could do with that money that you've, you've talked about supporting in other places, where you can give in to, you know, contribute to your community, what does that mean to you to have that control back?

MJ: Well, to have that control back is, is just huge. Um, it's, it's fantastic because now I can choose where that money goes. Uh, you know, I'm very strongly associated with the Boy Scouts of America. You know, I'm, I'm an Eagle Scout, and, you know I can put that money towards that organization, um you know, I could put it towards any one of a number of organizations whether it be the Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, uh any, my church, any number of, of organizations out there that, that I deem, you know, it's important to, to support. And the fact that I've now got that choice to do that, is, is what I'm gonna, uh, definetly, uh, you know, give some thought to as to where to put that money and, and where it's gonna go.

AF: Mmm-hmm 

MJ: I also think, you know, again, I mentioned that it's not only me, you know, there's 5 million of us out there, you know that are in the public sector, and the other thing people have to remember is, you know, unions are not gonna go away. Uh, unfortunately against what the unions are saying, unions will continue to collective bargain, they will continue to have memebership, and they will continue to work in the endeavors, you know, that they want to endeavor in. And so this, you know, fallacy that I'm a union buster is just totally blatently false and is totally off target by miles.

AF: Mmm-hmm. There are 370,000 other government employees in, in, uh, Illinois, and they will be impacted by this decision. It's not like you're not, people aren't gonna be allowed to be members of the union. Do you think that the unions still serve a quality purpose for the people who belong to them?

MJ: Well, I think that's up to the individuals to decide whether, you know, they think the unions are, are working in the direction that they want. What I found most interesting was on the steps of the Supreme Court after the oral arguments back in February, we had Randy Weingarten, who's the head of the teacher's union, and she basically came right out and said, well, if we lose, we're going to have to do better job of communicating with our, uh, members.

AF: Yeah.

MJ: And I'm thinking, what a comment, you know, shouldn't you have been doing this from day one? 

AF: Yeah

MJ: (inaudible) long time ago. Why does it now take my case for you to all of the sudden realize that you need to do a better job of communicating and working with your membership.

AF: Yeah. I, I'm gonna let you go, because I know you have to run, but Mark Janus, uh, you've, you've, fought a very good fight and as a tax payer in Illinois, along with you, along with the, the rest of the public employees that exist out there, thank you for doing this and we will continue to follow what happens next, because certainly there will be more to come.

MJ: Oh, definetly will be. That's, we're, we're not got more work to do this is just kinda step one.

AF: Yep, it certainly is. Mark Janus, thank you so much.

MJ: Thank you.

AF: Mmm-hmm