The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public-sector employees who choose not to join a union can't be forced to pay fees to help cover the costs of collective bargaining.
At issue was an Illinois law that required nonmembers to contribute to unions that represent them. The petitioner, Mark Janus, argued that his non-union fees were unconstitutional and violated his First Amendment right to free speech by forcing him to pay money that the union can then spend supporting a political party he doesn't agree with.
In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote: "It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. These unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely."
The 5-4 decision on Wednesday overruled one the Supreme Court made back in 1977. And it won't just affect Illinois — roughly two dozen states have laws requiring these fair-share fees.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.