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Union Leader Expects Group to Maintain Majority of Members in California Despite Court Ruling

Service Employees International Union members celebrate after Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation SB 3 into law on April 4, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Service Employees International Union members celebrate after Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation SB 3 into law on April 4, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

California’s public employee unions, for decades some of the state’s towering political giants, knew this day was coming.

Now, after a majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the legality of the fees charged to nonmember workers — sometimes totaling hundreds of dollars a year — union leaders are relying on plans they’ve been carefully crafting for more than five years.

“No one is trying to pretend that it’s not a hit,” said Alma Hernandez, political director of the Service Employees International Union’s California state council. “But I think that the work that our locals have done across the state will help us maintain a majority of our members in the union.”

Wednesday’s ruling in a case brought by Illinois state worker Mark Janus had been foreshadowed by earlier legal battles over “agency fees,” charged by unions to government workers on the local and state level. The most celebrated case originated in California in 2013 when Rebecca Friedrichs, an Orange County educator, sued the California Teachers Assn. It fizzled in early 2016 when the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia left the court deadlocked at 4-4.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.