This week we launched a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 9 Illinois employees who paid agency fees, a.k.a. “fair share” fees, to the government union in order to keep their jobs. Last June, the Supreme Court ruled that requirement to be illegal.
One of the plaintiffs, Blake Leitch, and I appeared at a press conference yesterday to talk about the case. Blake, an Iraq war veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, paid about $2,500 in fair share fees to AFSCME during the five years he worked at the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. When he joined the military twenty years ago he made an oath to defend and protect our country’s Constitution, an oath he continues to honor through this lawsuit.
If we win, the fees Blake, and an estimated 2,700 state workers, were forced to pay from May 2017 to June 2018 — roughly two million dollars — will be returned to these hardworking public servants. That time period is what the Illinois statute of limitations allows, though most, like me, have paid much more.
Last week we also filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sue Bennett, a custodian for the Moline-Coal Valley School District. She decided to exercise her right to leave the union after hearing about the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, but her union had other plans.
Rather than acknowledge her constitutional rights, AFSCME has refused to let her out until a time of their choosing, which given the almost $600 a year in union dues Sue has been forced to pay, is not surprising.
My case last year got the ball rolling, but workers are still facing extreme resistance from the unions. The Liberty Justice Center will continue to fight until every government worker in the country is free to exercise their rights when it comes to union membership.
If you or someone you know paid agency fees/ “fair share fees” to their government union in the last several years, get in touch with us. We’re fighting in states across the country to have the union fees that were illegally taken from government employees refunded.