Continuing a fight against public employee unions initially spearheaded by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, nine state workers who say they have opted out of union membership are asking to be repaid for past “fair share” fees in a proposed class-action lawsuit.
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. […]
Janus was the plaintiff in a similar lawsuit that was thrown out earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman, who ruled that AFSCME had followed the law in collecting fair share fees and couldn’t have reasonably anticipated those fees becoming illegal. […]
“We are making the same legal argument and we are appealing the legal argument that was rejected,” [Patrick Hughes, president and co-founder of the Liberty Justice Center] said. “The district judge is not the final say on these issues. We’ll appeal that decision. … Ultimately if we are successful, we’ll see what the unions do. If we are unsuccessful, we’ll appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and let the justices that decided the Janus decision ultimately decide that case as well.”
* Illinois News Network…
A school employee in Illinois filed a federal lawsuit against a local school 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.
Susan Bennett, a janitor at the Moline-Coal Valley School District since 2009, withdrew from her union shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forced union dues as a condition of employment violated the First Amendment. The high court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 struck down forced union fees as unconstitutional.
Bennett alleged the school district refused to stop deducting union dues from her paychecks in the lawsuit, which was filed in the Central District of U.S. District Court.
“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. “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.”
In the suit, she said that the district was forcing her to wait until an enrollment period to withdraw based on her union agreement entered into before the Janus decision. Unions have used similar tactics elsewhere to retain members after the 2018 Supreme Court decision.
“Based on your enrollment card with AFSCME, see attached, you have to wait until the enrollment period to withdrawal,” district CFO Dave McDermott wrote in an email response to Bennett. “I believe the next opportunity is August 2019.”