This is a response to two recent articles in the Los Alamos Daily Post, one by the Rio Grande Foundation and another by the American Federation of Labor, concerning the Janus decision. I hate to say this, but I think the whole thing is highly amusing. I know the plaintiff, Mark Janus. He’s the same age I am and I grew up with him (church, Boy Scouts, school). I haven’t seen him since high school, but this whole episode is entirely in character.
Mark Janus isn’t some right wing political activist. I remember him as being a bit of an obnoxious loudmouth. He was the kid who talked back to his elders and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He also wouldn’t let go of anything. He was tenacious to the point of being a pain in the behind.
What I suspect happened is that he questioned the $45 a month that was taken out of his paycheck by AFSCME. The union was probably heavy handed with him (they usually are) and tried to blow him off. I don’t know how long he has worked for the State of Illinois, but it’s likely that he has been angry about this for 30 to 40 years.
When he saw the opportunity to put the screws to the union, he jumped at it. By the tone of the NMFL letter, it looks like he succeeded. I’m sure that many of us have had bad experiences with unions. They like to shove people around. This time they tried to shove around the wrong person.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the NMFL has learned anything from this episode. They need to learn that they need to persuade people to join their cause, rather than coerce them. Frankly, I think it is kind of refreshing that an everyday citizen can take a case all of the way to the US Supreme Court and win.