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Leitch v. AFSCME

$2 million for 2,700 workers

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. 

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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.

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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.

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