The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in Janus v AFSCME ruled 5-4 that no public employee can be compelled to pay any union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The largest public employee union in Montana, the Montana Federation of Public Employees, was disappointed in the ruling, according to President Eric Feaver.

“First and foremost, we’re disappointed in the Court’s decision as we should be,” Feaver began. “Secondly, we fully expected that decision. Had it not been for the untimely death of one of the jurists several years ago we probably would have had the decision then. We will certainly comply with the court’s decision, but the disappointment is that Montana is a union state, and the governor wrote a great amicus brief for us asking why the federal government wants to interfere in how a state decides how its public employees should manage their affairs with public employers.”

Feaver said he is disappointed in the lack of support for the union from those who benefit from its representation.

“I’m kind of put out by the notion that folks for whom we bargain contracts and try to protect their employment that that obligation on our part is of so little value to them that they don’t have to pay anything, so effectively they will continue to be free riders going into the future.”

Feaver said the court misrepresented the union’s activities on behalf of the members. “The court got in wrong in some respects, thinking that somehow or another we have charged fees to pay for our political activities, and that has never been the case, ever, never,” he said. “We have 25,000 dues payers and 2,000 fee payers, so we are not out of business, the doors are not closing.”



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