Philadelphia Inquirer: Even after Janus ruling, issues with organized labor persist

Philadelphia Inquirer: Even after Janus ruling, issues with organized labor persist

I recently sued my union. It’s not something I ever expected to do. But I also never thought an organization that claims to champion workers’ rights would deny me the opportunity to exercise mine.

I’ve been working as an income maintenance caseworker for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 2014. My job is to review applications and eligibility for the Commonwealth’s welfare programs.

The News-Gazette: Illinois man at heart of Supreme Court case continues fight

In the 10 months since the U.S. Supreme Court restored workers' rights and affirmed the tenets of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, more than 210,000 public employees across the country no longer are being forced to pay fees to unions they don't support.

They can thank Illinois' Mark Janus and others like him for their newfound freedom.

While hundreds of thousands have been freed from paying these unconstitutional fees, many unions still are making it as difficult as possible for workers to exercise their rights.

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Dan McCaleb | Illinois man at heart of Supreme Court case continues fight

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 7:00am | Dan McCaleb

In the 10 months since the U.S. Supreme Court restored workers' rights and affirmed the tenets of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, more than 210,000 public employees across the country no longer are being forced to pay fees to unions they don't support.

They can thank Illinois' Mark Janus and others like him for their newfound freedom.

Janus was a former child support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He was forced to pay AFSCME Council 31 a part of his salary for 10 years, even though he declined to join the union and disagreed with the union's politics — including their collective-bargaining position of demanding huge pay increases from a state that is broke.

Union advocates maintained the dues Janus was forced to pay to AFSCME were his "fair share" for the wages and benefits the union negotiated on his behalf.

And for 40 years, a legal precedent set by the Supreme Court in 1977 had backed the unions.

But Janus wasn't satisfied with the precedent. He felt strongly that his First Amendment rights guaranteeing his freedom to associate with whom he wanted — or not to associate with a union he wanted no part of — were being violated.

So he joined a lawsuit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Last June, the Supreme Court agreed with him and struck down forced union fees as unconstitutional.

Since then, more than 210,000 Americans who were being forced to pay these fees to two of the largest public-sector unions no longer are paying.

That statistic is based on analysis from U.S. Department of Labor reports released last week.

"These numbers are an incredible confirmation of what we argued during my case: that all across the country, hundreds of thousands of government workers like me were forced against their will to give money to government unions, just so they could keep their jobs," Janus said. "That's why the decision in my case is so powerful. It freed these workers, and each of the 5 million public-sector workers in America, from mandatory union fees."

Janus left his state of Illinois job shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

He now is a senior fellow with the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center, which represented him during his lawsuit against the forced fees. Janus and the rest of the LJC team continue their fight for workers' rights.

While hundreds of thousands have been freed from paying these unconstitutional fees, many unions still are making it as difficult as possible for workers to exercise their rights.

The Liberty Justice Center, for example, is representing two University of California system workers who resigned from their unions and opted out of paying union fees in the wake of Janus vs. AFSCME.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision, the workers say the university continues to deduct these fees. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon and elsewhere.

"Unfortunately, thousands more government workers are facing obstacles exercising their Janus rights," Janus said. "My fight on their behalf will continue until all government workers can easily exercise their right to choose whether to support a union or not."

MyNewsLA.com: University of California Employees Sue Over Union Dues

Two University of California employees filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles, alleging union dues were illegally deducted from their paychecks despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public workers are not required to pay fees to the unions representing them, it was announced Thursday.

Fox News: California workers sue union for holding them 'against their will,' despite landmark ruling

Two University of California system employees claim they are effectively being held "against their will" and forced to pay monthly union dues, despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer barring public-sector unions from requiring nonmembers to pay so-called agency fees without their consent.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania is hub for post-Janus lawsuits

Shalea Oliver had been trying to leave her union for more than a year when she found a website offering help.

It had a template resignation letter that she could send to her union, SEIU Local 668, and a form to fill out if the letter wasn’t effective, which she did. Next, an organization called the Liberty Justice Center got in touch.

National Review runs feature story on Mark Janus

National Review features Mark Janus in their March issue. Meet Mark Janus, the man who ended compulsory union dues.

He asked the Supreme Court to acknowledge his First Amendment rights, and it did.

An average guy, provoked enough, can accomplish things that are above average.

Mark Janus is such a guy. Provoked by what he believed was a bald violation of his First Amendment rights, he took action to see them protected. And he prevailed. Big time, as an average guy might say.

LebTown: County faces lawsuit over alleged unauthorized deduction of union dues

Four Lebanon County employees have filed a federal complaint against the county and Teamsters Local 429 for unauthorized deductions of union dues from their paychecks.

A core issue of the lawsuit will be whether authorizations for the deduction of union dues provided before the June 2018 SCOTUS decision serve as freely given consent, given that there was no alternative save for non-employment at the time.

Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon County employees sue over forced union dues

The Lebanon County lawsuit says the four employees informed Teamsters in July and September that they wished to resign from the union and to stop the withholding of union fees from their paychecks. The union insisted they could not immediately resign, the complaint alleges.

An attorney for the four employees then asked Lebanon County in October to stop withholding dues, but the county did not, it continues.

'Like it was a blood contract': State worker suing SEIU 668 details long road to exit union

Since 2014, Shalea Oliver has seen thousands of dollars removed from her paycheck to fund an organization and political efforts that she does not support. When she tried to push back against those deductions, she faced indifference and a refusal to help from the very people who claimed to represent her.

Pennsylvania Watchdog: Unions kept collecting dues after workers quit

Pennsylvania lawmakers were warned last fall that if the state didn't amend its laws to comply with the terms of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling, the result could be a host of legal complications. That warning is now ringing true.

Albuquerque Journal: Janus supports New Mexico workers’ right to work

The state House late Friday approved a bill that would bar counties in New Mexico from enforcing local “right-to-work” ordinances. The proposal would stipulate that only the state government could establish a law barring labor unions from collecting fees from nonunion members in unionized workplaces.

Daily Herald: Illinois school employee sues for refund of union dues

February 12 — Citing a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision from last summer, a Palatine Township Elementary District 15 diesel mechanic is suing his former union and the district for a refund of dues he says he paid unwillingly.

Erich Mandel, a Palatine resident, contends in the federal lawsuit that he had no choice but to join Service Employees International Union Local 73 when he started his District 15 transportation department job on July 31, 2013. Mandel's suit states he joined because he'd be required to pay union fees even as a nonmember.

North Cook News: Janus didn't settle union dues question after all

In August, Mandel resigned from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 and told his employer to stop withholding union dues. Local 73, which represents more than 29,000 employees in Illinois and Indiana, pointed to the union card Mandel signed before the Janus decision, and dues continued to be deducted from his paycheck.

"The union said that he had to wait until July 2019 and that union dues would continue to be withheld from his paycheck until then," Schwab said. "The question is whether he can be compelled to do that."

Chicago Tribune: LJC represents IL worker forced to pay dues despite Supreme Court ruling that bars practice

A northwest suburban school employee is suing his labor union, saying he’s being blocked from opting out of membership despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year that barred public unions from requiring government employees to pay dues.

A September letter from the union said Mandel couldn’t cancel his membership until July, the next authorization date on his union card, according to court documents.

But Mandel’s attorney argues the union card is unenforceable in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

LJC launches lawsuit in New Mexico to help workers leave their union

A conservative nonprofit group is suing the state of New Mexico on behalf of a government employee who wants out of his labor union.

The case, filed by the Liberty Justice Center, is in some ways a next step after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruled against labor unions earlier this year in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

In that case, the court said it’s unconstitutional to require public employees who are not union members to pay part of the union’s collective bargaining costs through fees deducted from their wages.

In this latest suit, the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center argues that union members should be able to cancel their membership whenever they wish, contending it is unconstitutional to limit the period when employees can withdraw to particular periods of the year, as is the case in some union contracts.

AFSCME Defies Janus, Tells Members They Can’t Leave

Connecticut public sector workers who want to resign from their union may find themselves in Hotel California -- you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

That's because AFSCME Council 4 has begun to deny members their right to resign union membership if they have signed in union card within the past two years.

Legal NewsLine: California teacher alleges constitutional rights have been violated by union, school district

November 27, 2018 – A special education teacher in California alleges his constitutional rights have been violated because his union has refused to allow him to withdraw his membership on three separate occasions.

The Liberty Justice Center filed a complaint on behalf of Thomas Few Nov. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against United Teachers of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra seeking declaratory relief.

LJC Lawsuit in California Aims to Make Unions Respect the Supreme Court's Authority

Despite the Janus ruling, some unions are still forcing public workers to pay annual dues.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision from June in Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was clear: Public employees no longer are required to pay union dues, even for collective-bargaining purposes. This was no technical or ambiguous point. The court declared it an infringement of the First Amendment when the government forces workers to financially support organizations that they don't want to support.

Case settled, right? Not entirely. Public-sector unions, especially in California, aren't used to finding themselves on the losing end of a public-policy battle. As Janus made its way to the high court, some of the state's unions successfully lobbied the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass laws designed to undermine the expected decision in that case, which involved an Illinois social-worker who didn't want to pay dues to his local AFSCME union