Letters to the Editor

Workers have no free speech

You’ve probably heard of the infamous Janus v. AFSCME case aired by the U.S. Supreme Court last February. The plaintiff, an Illinois government employee, said she should be entitled to the employee benefits and rights in her workplace without paying anything to the labor union that secured them. She should not even be obligated to cover her share of the negotiation and arbitration costs. Paying money for anything is a violation of her free speech rights, she contended.

This is a strange argument, if you think about it. Most workers are painfully aware that they have no rights to free speech at work under laws sustained by many court decisions. These workers know they can be terminated any time for any reason at the will of their employers. So, how can this particular employee claim to have rights to free speech at work?

It is widely expected that the right-wing majority of the Supreme Court will decide that the First Amendment protects employees who refuse to pay labor unions for services they received, even though many courts have previously decided the First Amendment does not protect employees who disagree with their employers.

Tom Louderback