Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon explains why a Supreme Court victory in the Janus case could represent just the first step in a fight against forced unionization.

The Supreme Court may do away with judicial approval over mandatory union payments in a landmark case, but labor watchdogs say such a ruling will not stop unions from attempting to preserve collections from unwilling members.

The justices are weighing whether to overturn 40 years of precedent allowing government agencies to mandate union fees and dues as a condition of employment in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees case. The Court deadlocked on a similar case in 2016 following the surprise death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but labor watchdogs are hopeful Trump appointee Neal Gorsuch can deliver the tie-breaking vote, though Gorsuch did not speak during oral arguments in February. A ruling in their favor, however, does not mean that forced unionism will come to a sudden end, as recent history has shown according to labor observers. …

… Other states have seen similar instances of unions attempting to undermine worker opt-out clauses in the wake of legislative labor reforms or adverse court rulings. Labor organizations have created work-arounds to discourage withdrawal, such as ID requirements, small windows of opportunity before reenrollment, and filing lawsuits to hinder worker outreach.

Ben Johnson, the former head of the Vermont AFL-CIO, said he is not surprised labor organizations respond defensively to interruptions to dues and fee collections. He said unions have “come to rely so thoroughly” on mandatory payments that it has affected their approach to workers.

“There’s no doubt unions would be radically different if they always had developed in a voluntary system,” he said. “Decades of living off of guaranteed income [from fee payers] leads you to take workers for granted.”

Other labor watchdogs are preparing for life after the Janus decision. Akash Chougule, spokesman for the pro-free market Americans for Prosperity, said the organization is already gearing up for worker outreach and education events in advance of the “monumental” decision allowing public sector workers to withdraw from mandatory systems.