Following the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, public workers across the country were granted the right to choose whether or not they wanted to pay money to a union. With that decision, however, came several new questions. What about private sector workers? Would unionized airport and railway workers be afforded the same rights that had just been given to their public sector counterparts?
Seeking to answer these questions, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed a lawsuit in January 2019. The case, Rizzo-Rupon v. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, was filed on behalf of three United Airline ticket agents who were required to pay money to a union, even if they were not members.
On Dec. 16, 2019, the court released its unsatisfactory decision. Because New Jersey is not currently a right-to-work state, the court decided that the matter could not be determined in New Jersey court, and it dismissed the case.
“We are disappointed by the outcome of this case,” said plaintiff Linda Rizzo-Rupon. “But this is why it is so important that we keep fighting for our rights. Even though the Supreme Court affirmed public workers’ right to opt out in 2018, we must continue to fight to make sure those rights are continually upheld. We are so grateful that the Mackinac Center is fighting to restore rights to workers.”
The Mackinac Center filed for an appeal on Jan. 14, hoping to see a pro-worker freedom decision at the court of appeals. Vice President of Legal Affairs Patrick Wright is optimistic about the future of the case.
“If the government cannot compel their own employees to pay money to a union, why should they be able compel others’ employees?” Wright asked.