Action Center


What is Janus and what does it mean to ATU members?

Janus v. AFSCME Local 31 is a challenge to a 40-year-old precedent that allows public sector labor unions in non-right to work states to collect "agency” or “fair share” fees from individuals who are part of the bargaining unit but not members of the union. The Supreme Court is expected to overturn that precedent and the agency fee will be eliminated.

Another billionaire-backed attack on working families

This case is another attack by greedy CEOs and their billionaire backed to crush working people and their families. This has been the goal of the right wing and their billionaire backers, to capture the courts and pervert the constitution.

Like all workers, public workers must have a right to come together and negotiate for better wages, working conditions, benefits, retirement security, and safe workplaces.

Who is Janus?

Mark Janus was an Illinois public employee and member of AFSCME Council 31 who wanted all the benefits of being a union member, but didn’t want to pay dues. While his fellow nurses and EMS workers and 911 dispatchers and security personnel contributed their fair share, he wanted to be a “free rider”.  

But the ones who are really invested in this case are corporate-funded groups such as the National Right to Work Foundation, the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity. And so is governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner, a millionaire himself, who has been pushing an agenda that benefits corporations and the wealthy on the backs of working people. Rauner filed a lawsuit in his own name to bar the collection of fair share fees by public service unions, but the case was dismissed.

What does this mean for ATU members?

Ok, what does this mean for you in the garage, on the bus, in the shop, at the station, in the office?

Bottomline, when the decision comes down soon, free-riding will allowed, it will be the law of the land for public employees including almost 90,000 of our members. Those who work for public transit agencies will be able to drop out of ATU and pay nothing. And here’s the kicker, they still get the benefits of being a member of your Local and the ATU.

They will be free riders enjoying the pay, benefits and protections that your Locals have negotiated while not contributing anything towards your Local’s activities to represent workers  - bargaining contracts, health and safety, grievance arbitration, contract administration, and various other activities.

This SCOTUS ruling will be yet another example of the high court’s anti-worker agenda to crush American workers and their families. 

An opportunity to show the value of ATU

While it is wrong and bad for working people, the ATU believes it is an opportunity to show the value of being a member of their Local and the ATU.

The old saying goes “make lemonade out of lemons” and that’s what the ATU has been doing.

ATU has been preparing for a post-Janus world. Dealing with this new law will be no easy feat, but over the last few years we have been conducting training with hundreds of Local leaders and members to better communicate with our members to highlight the value, strength and power of our union.

In addition, we will be conducting a series of Facebook Live sessions and developing additional training, tools and strategies to build a plan and strengthen internal communications and engagement with our members to deal with Janus.

Click here to find out more about what ATU is doing to prepare for Janus


JANUS in the news

Janus and fair share fees  -  The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers. (link)