In a 5-4 landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that employees who are represented by a public sector union but elect not to join the union can no longer be compelled to pay “fair share” fees. The decision in the case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, overturned the Supreme Court’s prior longstanding ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that allowed public employee unions to collect ‘fair share’ fees from non-union members who benefit from the union’s collective bargaining efforts through better wages, benefits and working conditions. The following statement is attributable to American Nurses Association (ANA) President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN:
“The American Nurses Association recognizes the value of public employee unions, which represent a wide range of public employees, including registered nurses. The ruling that the collection of ‘fair share’ fees from those who are not members of the union but who benefit from collective bargaining services is unconstitutional, is highly disappointing. As a result, it is likely efforts to ensure better wages, benefits and working conditions will suffer due to reduced resources. Improved working conditions for public employees, such as nurses, are closely aligned with the interest of the publics they serve, such as patients.
Only time will tell how today’s ruling impacts public employees. Nurses should remain diligent and persistent in their efforts to advocate for working conditions that prioritize safe, high quality patient care and safe, professional practice environments for themselves. The importance of collective action is underscored in The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. The Code establishes the ethical standard for the profession and provides a guide for nurses to use in analysis and decision-making. Nurses will continue to join their collective voices – whether through collective bargaining or other advocacy efforts– to lead change.”
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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation’s 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.