Cook County Record: Appeals court to decide if unions should refund illegal fees

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to require non-union state workers in Illinois to pay "fair share" fees to a union, but a Chicago federal appeals panel is considering whether a union must refund millions of dollars in fees already collected.

The appeal was brought by former state employee Mark Janus to force the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to reimburse him for “fair share” fees he had to pay the union as a non-union worker. The fees, which were slightly less than union dues, were allowed by Illinois law to cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining and representation.

Star Tribune: Union pressured Inver Hills college clerk to join, lawsuit says

Star Tribune: Union pressured Inver Hills college clerk to join, lawsuit says

A Twin Cities community college employee is suing the union representing campus clerical workers and the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, alleging she was pressured to join the union without receiving sufficient information.

The Hill: California workers have constitutional rights — even if unions think they don't matter

The Hill: California workers have constitutional rights — even if unions think they don't matter

Years ago, when Mike Jackson and Tory Smith started working in the Parking Department at the University of California, San Diego, they assumed they were required to join the public employees’ union. Not that it made much difference whether they joined or not.

Herald Mail Media: Washington County man lead plaintiff in union-fee lawsuit against AFSCME

A Washington County man is leading a class-action lawsuit which aims to return roughly $7 million in union fees Maryland state employees were forced to pay.

Washington Times: Maryland govt. workers sue AFSCME union, demand refunds of illegally collected dues

Nineteen public sector employees in Maryland filed a class action against their labor union this week, demanding a refund for dues they were forced to pay before the Supreme Court outlawed the mandatory fees last year.

Fox45 News: Federal lawsuit claims MD state workers were forced to pay union fees, demands refund

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Federal Court, represents 19 Maryland State Employees including Correctional Dietary Officer, Gary Mattos. “I found out I was paying over $400 a year just to have a state job,” Mattos says, “And I think that's wrong.”

Washington Examiner: Maryland state workers sue union, alleging it defied Janus ruling and coerced dues

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.

Baltimore Sun: Maryland state employees file lawsuit against AFSCME to recoup union fees that Supreme Court found illegal

A group of Maryland state employees has filed a federal lawsuit against their labor union to recoup union fees the U.S. Supreme Court found to be illegal in a ruling last year.

In a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday in Baltimore against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the 19 state employees are seeking a refund of fees they say they were forced to pay before the Supreme Court’s decision.

WSJ: Still Paying Coerced Labor Dues, Even After Janus

When the young man came by her office last spring, Cara O’Callaghan thought he was one of the students she sees regularly in the recreation department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she’s been a finance manager for nearly 10 years. The UCSB graduate and mother of a teenager helps students manage their club teams’ budgets. She prizes the one-on-one time with them.

Fox News: Special ed teacher suing to leave California union

Tommy Few, a special education teacher at Sepulveda Middle School in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, filed suit late last year against the United Teachers of Los Angeles – along with the Los Angeles Unified School District and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – claiming his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association were violated when he tried to leave the UTLA following last summer’s Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

“When I found out that I didn’t have to be in the union and have those dues deducted from my paycheck every month, I wanted out,” Few told Fox News. “But they tried to tell me that I could only leave during their opt-out window and that I still had to pay the dues.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Kent State custodians sue to stop university from withholding union dues from paychecks

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Three Kent State University workers sued the university and a labor union Monday, saying the university continues to deduct dues from their paychecks even though they withdrew from the labor organization following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.

Fox News: Sweeping class-action lawsuit could force unions nationwide to refund millions in fees

A massive class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois on Wednesday could force unions to refund hundreds of millions of dollars in agency fees paid by thousands of workers nationwide prior to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling last year in Janus v. AFSCME.

Prior to Janus, Hughes argued, workers were faced with a "false choice" -- they could pay full membership dues and become a union member, or pay a substantial amount of those dues and not become a member. The Supreme Court validated Hughes' reasoning last June, holding not only that public unions violated the First Amendment by taking money out of unwilling workers' paychecks to fund collective bargaining, but also that employees must "clearly and affirmatively consent" before any fees or dues are collected.

Chicago Tribune: State workers ask to be repaid for past “fair share” fees

The lawsuit filed Wednesday argues that more than 2,700 state employees are entitled to money they paid to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 from May 1, 2017 — the furthest back they can demand the money under a state statute of limitations — through June 28, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to make public employees pay union dues. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say they’re seeking close to $2 million from the union.

Cleveland.com: Kent State custodians sue to stop university from withholding union dues from paychecks

Annamarie Hannay, Adda Gape and John Kohl, who all work as custodians in student residence halls, say in the lawsuit that the university continues to deduct dues for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union. The suit says the union refuses to honor the resignation of the employees outside of “opt-out” periods spelled out in a collective bargaining agreement.

The Neighbor: Moline-Coal Valley School District employee sues over union dues deductions

An employee of the Moline-Coal Valley School District has filed a federal lawsuit against the district and the state's largest public sector union, claiming both refused to stop deducting union dues from her paycheck months after she left the union.

“Since November 2018, the union and the school district have been fully aware they do not have permission to collect money from my paycheck,” Bennett said in a press release from the nonprofit law firm that is representing her. “I submitted my resignation as soon as I could after learning about the decision. The union did not inform me of my rights after the Janus decision, and I should not have to wait months to exercise them.”

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."