Illinois union workers speak out against IL case at Supreme Cour - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois union workers speak out against IL case at Supreme Court

It involves state workers and whether or not they should be forced to pay union fees (Source: Remo Wakeford of the Illinois Policy Institute). It involves state workers and whether or not they should be forced to pay union fees (Source: Remo Wakeford of the Illinois Policy Institute).
CHESTER, IL (KFVS) -

 The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments this week on a case out of Illinois. It involves state workers and whether or not they should be forced to pay union fees.

c is a government worker at Chester Mental Health and considers himself a happy union member for 19 years.

"I want to be a union member, I want my voice heard," said Clover. "I want to be a part of a group that says we want to be heard and respected."

Clover is a part of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 and the President of the Local 424 chapter. 

"The union gives you a voice, it gives you a right to respected as an employee and the right to earn a decent wage and to be able to live," he said.

But the issue of paying union fees is at the heart of Janus vs. AFSCME.  

Attorneys for Mark Janus argue the state should not force workers to pay union fees to hold a government job. But, Clover disagrees and says having union support makes his job safer.

"The main issue here is the safety," said Clover. "My concern is at my facility and the right to speak up and have our voices heard."

Clover said the working with criminals can be dangerous. Back in September of 2017, there was a reported incident to staff at Chester Mental Health. Clover feels being a part of the union is helpful during times like that.

Mailee Smith, a staff attorney at Illinois Policy Institute, explained the significance of the Janus case.

"This case is a landmark case because for 40-years, government workers have not been able to have a choice in where their hard earned money goes," she said. "This is about restoring that choice and giving them an option whether or not to support the union."

Smith said that does not align with the Constitution.

"Mr. Janus is arguing that these forced fees violate his first amendment right to speech and association," said Smith. 

With more than 370,000 government workers in the state of Illinois, the direction of this case could have a major impact. Randall Clover hopes the union prevails.

"As we go through this battle with the Janus case, that the membership understands what could be at stake and we all need to stand up and fight," Clover concluded. 

The newest member of the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch has the swing vote and was silent during the case. 

The decision by the Justices will be made before June. 

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