Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon reports on a development that should please opponents of forced unionization.

A federal judge will allow three Illinois government workers to challenge the state’s compulsory union system over the objections of powerful public sector unions.

Judge Robert W. Gettleman ruled Tuesday that the public sector employees had standing to challenge the “fair share” fees they are forced to pay to public sector unions, such as AFSCME. In the same ruling, Gettleman also dismissed the matching suit filed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, finding that he “has no personal stake in the manner.”

The employees are receiving assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTW), a labor watchdog, and the Illinois-based Liberty Justice Center (LJC), a public interest law firm that defends individual freedom. LJC President Patrick Hughes said the ruling demonstrates that the employees have a valid constitutional case against paying fees to the union even though they have opted out of membership.

“They have standing to pursue their claim that the collection of “fair share” fees is unconstitutional, a violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association,” Hughes said. “If they’re not part of the union they should not be forced to pay dues.”

Illinois is not a right-to-work state and allows companies to collect agency fees or dues from workers as a condition of employment.