National Publications Cite Mackinac Center in Wake of Supreme Court Decision

Staff members quoted in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post and more

Last week, the U.S Supreme Court gave freedom to millions of workers across the country with its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. Government workers in 22 states are no longer forced to pay unions any types of fees as a condition of employment. The Mackinac Center’s amicus brief was cited in the decision.

Over the years, the lines between unions and political activism have been questioned. Vincent Vernuccio, senior fellow with the Mackinac Center, told The Daily Signal what the Janus case says about the politicization of unions:

We are not just talking about direct donations to candidates. When unions are negotiating for higher salaries and more benefits, those are taxpayer dollars we are talking about, and the decision to raise salaries and benefits at taxpayer expense is a policy choice that not everyone shares. At the heart of the Janus case is the idea that government unions are purely political.

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This is not the first time the Mackinac Center has faced off with unions. The Mackinac Center has spent decades fighting for worker freedom, both in its home state of Michigan and nationally. When Michigan became a right-to-work state in 2012, the Mackinac Center helped 100,000 workers exercise their rights — but the road to freedom is never an easy one.

Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center, and John LaPlante, a senior fellow with the Center, recently wrote in USA Today about some of the roadblocks Michigan encountered when it became a right-to-work state.

Some of the union’s locals enacted their own schemes. Conspiring with local school boards, they violated state law by setting up special deals known as union security agreements. Their purpose: obligate school employees to pay the union an amount equal to 75 percent or more of membership dues, even after leaving the union. While a standard school contract lasts three years, the security agreement in one district was set for 10 years, even as the collective bargaining agreement called for a 10 percent pay cut. In December 2017, or five years after Michigan enacted right-to-work, teachers were still asking groups such as the Mackinac Center to take legal action against union locals that wouldn’t let them go.

Anticipating a similar response from unions in the states directly affected by a positive Janus decision, the Mackinac Center created a national campaign known as My Pay My Say. Launched in March, the My Pay My Say is educating workers across the country about their rights.

Lindsay Killen, vice president for strategic outreach and communications, told The Wall Street Journal what the effort will entail:

Our efforts will be hyper-focused on the 11 states with the highest number of public employees. Workers are going to need to understand the impact of that ruling.

The efforts of My Pay My Say have been crucial in the wake of the decision, as unions are already pushing back. Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs for the Mackinac Center, wrote in the The Washington Post:

In response to Janus, unions and their legislative allies are already taking steps to blunt the impact of the ruling. Tactics have included legislation limiting the dates during which employees could resign, requiring new employees to attend a union sales pitch and preventing third parties from obtaining government employee information, thereby making it more difficult for those parties to inform the workers of their new Janus rights.

Despite union pushback, the Mackinac Center will continue to bring awareness to workers across the country through its My Pay My Say campaign. To learn more, visit

Related Articles:

Enforcing Janus Rights for Public Workers

Enforcing Janus Rights for Public Workers

Unions Admit Forcing People to Pay Dues is Political

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pivotal Right-to-Work Case

Mackinac Center Files Amicus in Pivotal Right-to-Work Case