But now the Supreme Court may say that no government worker, in any state, can be forced to pay a union.
She was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who anxious that overruling Abood would "drain" the public sector union's resources and even trigger members to stop paying for something others are getting for free.
The Supreme Court on Monday morning heard arguments - again - over the question of whether it is a violation of the First Amendment when public sector unions require nonunion members to pay "agency fees".
Dexter Guptill, a computer support technician for the American Federation of Teachers, said that if the justices rule against the unions, "my co-workers would wind up being forced to spend their effort representing essentially free riders".
OR teachers and other public employees are watching as a case with big implications for unions is heard in the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.
Here's some context: Right now, in more than 20 states, non-union public workers have to pay a "fair-share" fee to government unions. That case was challenged a year ago in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association which ended up with a 4-4 tie after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving the fees in place.
Hebert said the fees have been constitutional since a Supreme Court ruling in 1977 in a case brought by a Detroit teacher.
The union leaders are feeling pressure that they will lose support if the Janus decision comes down against them because they realize that many rank and file members are not in sync with the unions' policy directions. Now, with President Donald Trump's appointee, Neil Gorsuch, joining Justices Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy, the fix is in. Janus claims that he has paid "thousands of dollars" to a union which, he says, does not represent his interests.
Justices heard arguments in a challenge to an IL law that requires government employees who choose not to join a union to pay fair share fees for collective bargaining purposes.
"We're out here to let "big money" know that we're not going to sit back and let them dictate to us and do whatever they want", he said.
"They would look at it as saving some money, not realizing that our union fights for our wages, patient safety and better working conditions", she said.
IL and union officials say that making the fees optional would let employees become "free riders" who benefit from collective bargaining without paying for it.
Janus v. AFSCME started working its way through the US court system in 2015.
Currently, 28 states have right-to-work laws which prohibit mandatory fees. The other 27 states allow people the "Right To Work" without unions picking their pockets. "I am confident that they will side with free speech for the people of our great nation", Rauner said of the justices, following the arguments. The court's four Democratic appointees said during a fast-paced argument that a decision barring mandatory fees could have sweeping consequences.
"The general result of public-sector unions' outsize influence in politics over the last 30 years, especially at the state and local levels, is ever-larger and more expensive government", writes DiSalvo in his City Journal article, "Judgment Day for Public Unions". "To force a person to pay for something with which we disagree is a travesty for democracy", she said.