Janus Decision and the CLC-AFO

The Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which will come down this Spring or Summer, will have major, long-term implications for CLC-AFO and could very well cost us our union and all its benefits.


  • Janus is short for Janus vs AFSCME Council 31, a case pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • The Janus case asks the Supreme Court to rule that paying union dues for non-members (called “fair share fees”) is unconstitutional.

Fair share fees are fees paid for by people who don’t want to be a member of a union,  but it is believed that they should pay their fair share of the costs of bargaining and maintaining a contract.

  • If SCOTUS decides in favor of Janus, current fair share folks would not have to pay dues, BUT WOULD RECEIVE ALL THE BENEFITS AND PROTECTIONS of the CLC-AFO contract (raises, protection, professional growth money, GFO status, etc.).
  • They would essentially become “FREELOADERS.”


  • Currently approximately 50% of our adjunct union are members and 50% are fair share non-members.
  • If current members decide to drop their membership and get “free benefits” (which happened in Indiana and Michigan when this passed) CLC-AFO membership will drop below 50% of adjuncts.
  • CLC then can and will file an “RM Petition” with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board to decertify CLC-AFO claiming that we no longer represent the majority of adjunct faculty.
  • This would nullify our contract.
  • We Will Lose:
    • Regular raises, let alone any raises at all
    • Personal Days – Paid Time Off
    • Advocacy and Job Protection
    • There are people with us today because the union was able to advocate for them
    • GFO status
    • Professional Growth Money
    • All the benefits of the contract.
    • Our Field Rep Matt LaPierre
  • Even if CLC does not petition to decertify CLC-AFO

We will enter negotiations 2019 severely weakened.


What can you do


Please follow this link for more information on the Janus Decision.

Janus v. AFSCME: The Facts

What is this case really about? 

This case is really about taking away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions to improve our lives and sustain our families. Real freedom is about more than making a living; it’s also about safety on the job, affordable health benefits, having time to care for a loved one who’s ill and dignity in retirement. The wealthy corporate special interests behind this case want to take away our freedom to join together in a union because they simply do not believe that working people should have the same freedoms as they do to negotiate a fair return on our work.

Who is behind this case? 

Bruce Rauner originated this case in a lawsuit he filed against AFSCME Council 31 to try to weaken the union by banning Fair Share fees in state government. When the federal court said Rauner didn’t have standing to bring such a suit, he found a lone state employee—Mark Janus—to allow the legal challenge to proceed in his name.

The suit is backed by the Liberty Justice Center (an arm of the Illinois Policy Institute) and the National Right to Work Foundation which is part of a network funded by corporate billionaires to use the U.S. legal system to rig the rules against the rights of everyday working people. For decades, the super-rich have used their massive fortunes to gain outsized influence in politics, chipping away at the progress people in unions have won for all working families. Now they want the highest court in the land to take away our freedom to come together to protect things our families need like a living wage, retirement security, health benefits and the ability to care for loved ones.

What are Fair Share fees?

When employees (in a legally defined bargaining unit) at a particular workplace have chosen to be represented by a union, the union becomes the legal representative for collective bargaining matters. The union is required by law to represent and negotiate on behalf of all of these workers—and all the workers receive the wage increases, benefits and workplace rights that the union is able to achieve.

Some workers may not want to be a member of the union—and they are not required to do so—but all workers are required to contribute to the cost of representation, whether through membership dues or a “fair share” fee. Because all the workers enjoy the benefits, job security and other protections that the union negotiates, it’s only fair that everyone chip in for the cost of that representation.

Is anyone ever forced to join a union or pay dues or fees that go to political candidates? 

No. The simple truth is that no one is required to join a union and no one is required to pay any fees that go to political candidates. A bargaining unit employee who does not want to be a union member or does not want to contribute toward electing candidates who support working families can choose to be a Fair Share feepayer—and pay a fee that is calculated to exclude any political expenditures. This is already the law of the land—and nothing in this case will change that.

What is the real impact of the Janus case? 

By outlawing Fair Share fees, employees who benefit from the gains that the union makes will not have to pay anything toward the cost of union representation. The wealthy elite behind this case want to drain unions of resources so that working people will not have a powerful voice. When working people have the freedom to speak up together through unions, we make progress together that benefits everyone. We are a nation of people that stand up for our rights, but if the billionaires and corporate CEOs behind this case get their way, they will take away the freedom of working people to come together in a strong union and build power to fight for a better future for ourselves, our families, our communities and our country.

Unemployment Compensation CLC-AFO

Your union along with Illinois Education Association has worked with the Department of Labor (DOL) to change the guidelines that govern adjuncts receiving unemployment.  As of January 2017 DOL guidelines now specifically mention “adjunct faculty” and take into account the reality of being adjunct faculty.

  • The difficulty previously for adjunct faculty has been establishing a “reasonable assurance” of employment. If you had a reasonable assurance of employment you could not get unemployment compensation.
  • DOL has now broadened the definition of “reasonable assurance” of employment to include many realities that all adjuncts face between semesters.
  • The changes in the guidelines make it easier to get unemployment compensation for adjunct faculty between semesters, for example, between fall and spring and between spring and fall semesters.
  • EVEN WITH AN OFFER OF A CLASS IN THE NEXT SEMESTER you may be eligible to receive unemployment.

Department of Labor now mandates that the decision to grant unemployment to adjunct faculty must be based on the merits of the case, and the Illinois Board of Employment Security must now weigh:

  • The possibility of classes being cancelled due to low enrollment
  • The nature of the course offered (required or optional, regular class or sporadically offered, etc.)
  • The possibility of being bumped by a full-time instructor
  • The history of the class making or not making
  • Failure to put the adjunct’s name in the course schedule
  • The absence of a contract (this particularly applies to CLC as we get “offers” and a “notice of assignment” rather than a contract).

What This Means

  • CLC-AFO does not mean to imply that you will be eligible get unemployment between semesters.
  • What is said is that the barriers to getting unemployment have been eased and the criteria for getting unemployment has changed for adjuncts.
  • This is a great benefit for adjunct that find themselves in a financial tight situation between semesters.

Important Links


If you are considering applying for unemployment compensation, please read the three (3) links below for more information, the paper called Summary of New Department of Labor Directive on Adjunct unemployment” is particularly helpful

  • Summary of New Department of Labor Directive on Adjunct Unemployment
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Act: Fact Sheet for adjuncts
  • Unemployment Links


Summary of New Department of Labor Directive on Adjunct Unemployment

Bill Silver:  IEA

Below is a brief overview of the new interpretative changes concerning “reasonable assurance” – as described in Section 3304 (a)(6)(A) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and a link to the new DOL directive.


  • The last DOL interpretation of “reasonable assurance” was written in 1986 and it failed to address issues related to Higher Education. The new DOL interpretation now notes that since that time…“the use of part-time instructors, often referred to as “adjunct” or “contingent” faculty, has increased significantly.”


  • Previously, adjunct faculty were generally restricted from receiving unemployment compensation (UC) during summer and holiday breaks if they had a “reasonable assurance” of receiving a class assignment offer for the upcoming semester. The definition of “reasonable assurance” in Illinois simply meant that an adjunct received any kind of class assignment offer for the upcoming semester—whether it actually ran or not.


  • Under the new DOL interpretation, an adjunct no longer is automatically disqualified from receiving Unemployment Compensation (UC) between semesters or breaks, simply because he or she received a class assignment offer for the upcoming semester/academic year.


  • Under the new DOL interpretation, a ruling on eligibility must now be made based on the facts of the case. While this does not mean an adjunct will automatically receive UC over the summer or holiday break, it does mean, however, that unemployment offices must base its determination on factors which impact whether “reasonable assurance” exists.


  • These factors include the school’s decisions based on its “funding” levels, “student enrollment”, “the nature of the course” (required or optional, taught regularly or sporadically) and program changes. The possibility of being bumped by a full-time faculty will also be a factor in the decision.


  • Before making a determination whether there is a contract or reasonable assurance, the unemployment office must decide if the school’s employment offer meets three prerequisites:


  1. The assignment offer may be written, verbal, or implied, but must be made by a person with the authority to offer employment.
  2. The employment offered must be in the same capacity—professional or non-professional—as the previous academic year or term.


  • The economic conditions of the employment offer must not be “considerably less” than earned in the previous academic year or term. “Considerably less” is defined as at least 90% of the earnings [my emphasis] that the claimant received in the previous year, term, or corresponding term (if the adjunct doesn’t work every semester).


  • If the job offered in the following academic year or term does not meet all of the above prerequisites, then the state agency (Illinois Department of Employment Security–IDES) cannot legally deny the claimant Unemployment Compensation (UC).


  • States are now required to analyze the totality of the circumstances and determine if it’s “highly probable” that there is a job available for the claimant.


  • According to the DOL: “If it is not “highly probable” that the contingency will be met, there is no “reasonable assurance” because the contingent nature of the offer outweighs any other facts indicating that the claimant has a “reasonable assurance.”


  • As part of IDES’ determination, it must obtain and analyze a written statement from the employer explaining why the employee received “reasonable assurance.”


  • ”The claimant, however, must also provide sufficient information to IDES to support his or her case. This information may include their own class assignment history (whether they have had cancellations due to low enrollment, program changes, or bumping by full-time faculty), student enrollment numbers, whether there’s been significant reduction in the number of classes, new College standards on how many students are needed for a class to run, the failure to put the adjuncts’ name on the class registry, etc.


  • The DOL also provided guidance regarding multiple employer situations:


  • A claimant can’t be ruled ineligible for unemployment compensation simply because one of his/her employers has given “reasonable assurance”.


  • If one, but not all, employers provide reasonable assurance, IDES has two options:

1) To only consider those employers who do not provide                                            reasonable assurance; or

2) To make a determination based on the entirety of the                                             situation.


Below is a link to the new unemployment directive: