Please be advised that contacting Ruder Ware by e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact the firm by e-mail with respect to a matter where the firm does not already represent you, any information which you disclose to us may not be regarded as privileged or confidential.


Accept   Cancel

Please be advised that contacting Ruder Ware by e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact the firm by e-mail with respect to a matter where the firm does not already represent you, any information which you disclose to us may not be regarded as privileged or confidential.


Accept   Cancel

PAL Login

linkedin.jpgyoutube.jpgvimeo.jpgtwitter_off.png View Ruder Ware

Local Governments and School Districts Blog

Supreme Court Strikes Down Fair Share Dues

Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys
Posted on June 29, 2018
Filed under Local Governments and School Districts

The recent decision from the United States Supreme Court was a significant decision for public sector unions even though its impact may be limited in the State of Wisconsin.  The United States Supreme Court held, based on constitutional grounds, that a public sector union could not require a public employee, whose position is represented by the Union but is not a card-carrying member, to pay partial union dues for the cost of collective bargaining and contract administration services provided by the Union.  In short, the Supreme Court held that public sector unions could not require non-member employees to pay “fair share” dues, which has been a long standing option for local unions.  The “fair share dues” are intended to be an amount less than the full union dues and supposed to represent the cost of collective bargaining and contract administration, which are services provided by the public sector union to non-member employees.

This decision does not have high impact in Wisconsin, because most public sector unions, under the Act 10 Legislation, no longer have the right to impose mandatory dues on employees of the Local Government Unit.  Unions representing police employees, firefighter employees, and transit employees are exempt from the Act 10 Legislation and still can require employees subject to a Labor Agreement to pay fair share dues if they are not a union member, and of course, pay full union dues (on a voluntary basis) if the employee has signed a voluntary dues deduction form.  The impact will be limited to these select Unions that still have the right to negotiate with the Local Government Unit over wages, hours and conditions of employment.  It is possible this new court decision will cause more employees to opt out of union representation if they no longer have to pay fair share dues for that representation.

The Supreme Court decision has a significant impact on a national level because there is still a great deal of public sector collective bargaining in many other states.  It will be interesting to see how this may impact the local and national political scene because of the anticipated significant reduction in income for public sector unions.