The federal class-action lawsuit, Mattos v. AFSCME Council 3, seeks to recoup “agency” fees paid by Maryland state employees before the US Supreme Court ruled the mandatory fees were unconstitutional.
This article first appeared September 4, 2019 in the Washington Examiner.
A group of 19 Maryland state employees have filed a class action suit against their union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, seeking $7 million in dues they claim was illegally taken from them.
The suit argues the union is acting in defiance of the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME ruling, which strictly limited the ability of public sector unions to coerce dues payments from workers who don’t wish to join a union.
“I was never a member of AFSCME and I never wanted anything to do with the union, yet I paid the union more than $2,000 since 2011,” said Gary Mattos, lead plaintiff in the case. Mattos is a correctional officer with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. “Taking money from hardworking people without their permission is wrong and I was relieved that the Supreme Court agrees. I want my money back and so do many other state employees.”
Council 3 claims to represent 26,000 state employees in Maryland. Federal filings indicated the union takes in about $9 million annually in funds from those workers. It is unclear how many of those are actually card-carrying members, however. The lawsuit alleges that only 8,000 public employees have affirmatively joined the union.