Caulkins predicts better days ahead for Illinois after Janus decision
Republican state House candidate Dan Caulkins believes last month’s Supreme Court ruling preventing unions from collecting fees from nonunion members is a win for workers that will bring about better days for Illinois.
“This was a major victory for the First Amendment and for people who believe that you shouldn’t have to join a particular organization just to get a job,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “If people want to organize in private, that’s one thing but you shouldn’t have to partner up with anyone as a prerequisite to being able to get a job and making a living.”
In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled in favor of Mark Janus, a child support specialist from Illinois who argued that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) violated his First Amendment rights by engaging in political speech with which he does not agree.
“I think the court made the only decision they could make,” said Caulkins, who is running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin in Illinois’ 101st District. “They were fair about it. It’s not like their ruling outlaws public unions. It just gives workers more of a voice.”
The Illinois Policy Institute estimates that five major government unions in Illinois doled out a combined $46 million in political contributions to both Republicans and Democrats over a 12-year period ending in 2014.
Caulkins is hopeful the ruling means a change in perception of the state’s reputation in the business world.
“This gives us a chance to improve how we’re seen by others,” he said. “It gives us something to cheer about and I think that there might be better days ahead for Illinois.”
Janus was represented in the proceedings by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME overturns a 41-year-old ruling from the case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.