Public Sector Employees Must Consent to Fair Share Fees

On June 27, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states and public-sector unions may no longer require the payment of so-called “fair share fees” or “agency fees” from non-union employees unless those employees consent to the fee.  In  Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court held that fair share fees violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution because the fees infringe on free speech rights of non-union members employed in the public sector. 

This Affects Public-Sector Employers in 22 States
Before this ruling, public-sector unions in 22 states could require non-union employees to pay fair share fees through a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).  In other words, even if a public-sector employee chose not to join the union, the employee could still be required to pay a fee for union activities- such as the union's costs related to collective bargaining.  Fair share fees are less than union member dues, but, many fair share fees are typically between 75- 85% of regular union dues. 

After this ruling, public sector unions may no longer require non-union employees to pay fair share fees, unless the non-union employee expressly consents to the fee deduction. 

What About Other States and Private Sector Employers?
Fair share provisions are already prohibited in 28 “right-to-work states,” so employers in these states are not affected by the ruling.  For a current list of right-to-work states, click here.  Finally, the ruling does not affect private-sector employers.  So, unions in the private sector may still include fair share provisions in their CBAs if such clauses are permitted by state law. 

Are you Affected?  Still Have Questions?
Page, Wolfberg & Wirth works with EMS agencies and employers nationwide concerning labor law issues - including union organizing, collective bargaining  and related matters.  We also educate EMS employers and managers on lawful practices under the National Labor Relation Act, workplace laws, anti-discrimination compliance and other HR and employment law issues.  If you have questions, please contact us at