Supreme Court's Janus decision a win for workers, local government, 'freedom and individual choice', Morrison says
State workers and local governments stand to gain from the nationwide change in how unions collect fees and dues following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in an Illinois case against the state's largest public sector employee union, a representative from the 54th District said during a recent interview.
"This ruling empowers individual workers who serve in state and local government to make decisions that line up with their individual beliefs," state Rep. Thomas Morrison (R-Palatine) told North Cook News.
Nonunion employees in union shops will no longer be forced to pay union fees and dues, which has been the law of the land since a 1977 landmark decision that now has been overturned.
"Up to this point, they've been compelled by law to pay for union political or other activities they disagree with, even if they don't belong to the union," Morrison said.
Morrison is being challenged in the November general election by Democrat healthcare researcher Maggie Trevor of Rolling Meadows. Both Morrison and Trevor were unopposed during the primaries in March. The 54th state House District is entirely within Cook County, and includes Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows.
In what is widely seen as a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 27 in Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay union fees and dues.
Morrison's support of that decision is no real surprise. In his eight years representing the 54th state House District, he has proven himself a bulwark of Conservative values in state government.
In 2016, Morrison, who last spring was awarded the American Conservative Union Foundation's Award for Conservative Achievement for his 2017 voting record, introduced a bill into the state House that would have required Illinois public school students to use bathrooms that correspond with their birth sex. More recently, he has challenged Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on topics such as abortion and the budget, and broke with the majority in the General Assembly when he voted against the fiscal 2019 spending plan he said was "smoke and mirrors" instead of balanced. Earlier this year, Morrison backed Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in her strong but failed primary bid to unseat Rauner.
Morrison also has tried to hold the line on AFSCME spending demands, declaring last month that there is no room in the state's budget to pay for union-backed step increases for state employees, despite a court ruling.
His comments to the North Cook News followed the Supreme Court's decision in the Janus case, which overturned the high court's 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The high court's decision in the Abood case was that unions represent all employees, including nonunion workers, which has meant for decades that unions could compel dues and fee payments from all employees.
The Janus case, filed by state worker Mark Janus, questioned the premise of the Abood decision. It was struck down by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2017 before it was appealed to the nation's highest court. Janus was represented by attorneys provided by the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Janus' victory isn't only for state workers, Morrison said.
"This is a victory for freedom and individual choice," he said.