“I’m from Springfield, Illinois. Like a lot of people from that part of the state, I spent part of my career in the private sector and parts of it in the public sector.”

“When I worked for Illinois state government in the mid 80’s I did not have to pay any union dues or fees to keep my job. After a few years, I left to work in the private sector.”

“In 2007, I returned to state government and saw something had changed. My paycheck had a line item for ‘union dues.’ I didn’t sign a union pledge card. No one asked me to join the union. I learned, since leaving the government sector, in the mid 80’s, Illinois politicians had granted government unions the ability to deduct money from almost every state worker’s paycheck, even if we were not union members.” 

“I didn’t want to pay a political organization in order to do my job but, because Illinois did not have a right-to-work law, that’s what I was forced to do.”

“Every year, I was required to give AFSCME – one of the most powerful and political government unions in the country – hundreds of dollars every year just so I could keep my job.”

“I was tired of being treated like an ATM machine, forking over money, paycheck after paycheck. The union was advocating for policies that I did not believe in, nor felt were in the best interest of taxpayers. Even though I was not a union member, they were essentially speaking for me.” 

“I knew I had to do something – but what could I do? I couldn’t take on the public sector unions all by myself. I was just one guy. I believe that, as Whitaker Chambers said in his book Witness ‘…men must act on what they believe right, not on what they believe probable.’”

“I was introduced to the folks at Liberty Justice Center, a public interest law firm. They fight for individual liberties and constitutional rights. I soon realized they could help me.” 

“In the Spring of 2015, we filed my case with the Federal District Court in Chicago and it ended up before the US Supreme Court. The decision in our favor was handed down on June 27, 2018, the last day the court was in session.”

“Unions still think they are entitled to a portion of every worker’s paycheck. Note I use the word entitled. That’s what happened to me and why I filed my Supreme Court case. I didn’t have a choice on whether I wanted to pay the union or not. They simply took it. Let me repeat that, the union took it. No questions asked. No consent from me. Without Right to Work if you want to work for any enterprise covered by a union contract, you have to pay! That just didn’t seem right to me. So, I took the union to court and won. This gave over 5 million public sector workers a choice and a voice. Shouldn’t all workers have that choice?”

“Our 1st Amendment rights were given to us as a contract between our government and the people and anything that impinges on that right should not be allowed. We have the right to associate or not associate as we see fit. The Supreme Court agreed and ruled.”

“The importance of the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union is as simple and basic as so many other freedoms we enjoy. Freedom of choice in our day-to-day lives is paramount. If that decision-making leads you to join a union, so be it. But for those that decide not to join a union, they should have that freedom also. It cuts both ways. Right to work doesn’t mean being anti-union. Being forced to join an organization just to hold your job is wrong.” 

“Politicians are threatened by the right to work because politicians believe they will lose union support, and the vast amounts of political funding unions provide to elected officials. Politicians also rely on unions to provide boots-on-the-ground workers in their campaigns. It makes running for an election (or reelection) much easier.” 

“There are many positives about Right to Work. Many studies have shown that states which have right-to-work protections have increased employment opportunities and incomes. Where there is more opportunity, jobs follow, and the opportunity to have a better life increases. Right to Work also increases state revenue. More jobs, translates to more revenue and that diminishes the need for tax increases. Without forced payments to unions, each taxpayer has more money to spend on what they believe is best for them – not the government, not the unions.”


Mark Janus

Punta Gorda, Florida