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*** UPDATED x1 - AFSCME responds *** Janus files union dues refund appeal

Friday, Sep 20, 2019

* Center Square

The former state of Illinois employee who successfully challenged the payment of forced union dues by public workers was back in federal court Friday to ask a judge to force his former union to return about $3,000 in dues he paid while working for the state in a case that could have wider implications for public workers nationwide.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring state employees to pay union dues was a violation of Mark Janus’ First Amendment rights.

The former state child support specialist was in federal court Friday in Chicago seeking reimbursement for some of the union dues he previously paid.

“it’s just a simple matter of, they took the money and I want it back. That’s all there is to it.” Janus said comments outside of a federal courtroom in Chicago.

In court, Janus’ legal team argued that the dues were collected illegally and that he was entitled to receive about $3,000 back from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ Union.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that Janus was not entitled to the dues collected while he was contesting paying them to AFSCME. On appeal, Janus’ lawyer, Bill Messenger, attorney at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, argued that the money was collected illegally. […]

Diana Rickert, vice president of the Liberty Justice Center, said a favorable ruling could cost public employee unions about $100 million to $150 million dollars. She said the legal process could take years to play out.

*** UPDATE *** AFSCME Council 31…

Courts have repeatedly ruled in this and similar cases that in setting fees for representation provided to non-members, AFSCME acted in good faith based on a US Supreme Court ruling in place since 1977 and repeatedly affirmed in the ensuing decades. When the 2018 Supreme Court ruling overturned that previous decision, AFSCME immediately halted all fees. Consequently we have a very strong case, which we made to the appellate panel today.

Mark Janus received wage increases, health insurance coverage, vacation time and other benefits that the union negotiated during his tenure in state government. He never once failed to accept such improvements in his working conditions, nor did he ever object to paying the related fees—until he became the plaintiff in Bruce Rauner’s court case against AFSCME. This prolonged litigation is nothing but another political attack on working people, and on Janus’s part, a greedy grab for more.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Steve - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    It’s time for some people to pay up. That’s what happens when you win in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

  2. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    I don’t think this appeal is going anywhere but you never know.

  3. - Kippax Blue - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    Of course, this guy wants to keep the raises The Union negotiated on his behalf. What a hypocrite.

  4. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    The question is whether 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983’s “color of state law” provision would apply to unions collecting fair share fees under state laws, giving the federal courts jurisdiction to hear the claims. I would not court out this Supreme Court ruling in the affirmative on this question.

  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    At the time the fees were collected the SCOTUS decision in Abood was controlling and under that decision fair share fees were legal. This seems frivolous.

  6. - Ano - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Going forward, any new hire must sign a legal understanding that they are working for a job where wages and benefits are negotiated by a union.
    Given that they will be the recipients of those benefits, negotiated by the union, they need to pay dues. If the new hire has a problem with that, find a non-unionized job.

  7. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    ==Given that they will be the recipients of those benefits, negotiated by the union, they need to pay dues.==

    No they don’t, unless AFSCME would like to forego their exclusive bargaining rights. AFSCME could have done this at any time and rid themselves of those freeloading non-members. What are they waiting for?

    ==If the new hire has a problem with that, find a non-unionized job.==

    That new hire works for the state, not the union.

  8. - Publius - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    So if this case prevails will that State then decide that since the law now is a flat tax of 4.95% the people of Illinois owe the State money for all those years they only paid 3% ?

  9. - RNUG - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    It could go either way, but my guess is he will only recover anything paid after he initially filed suit.

  10. - Cronish - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    Publius, I guess state government could pass a bill to retroactively raise the income tax as you mention. I bet taxpayers would love that.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===I guess state government could pass a bill to retroactively raise the income tax as you mention. I bet taxpayers would love that.====

    Considering there aren’t the votes and Pritzker won’t sign it your trolling continues

  12. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    “That new hire works for the state, not the union.”

    The state recognizes AFSCME as the sole, exclusive bargaining representative.

  13. - Steve - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    - Grandson of Man -

    The night is young. Janus is just the beginning at chipping away at post -1937 precedents . Some of the Wagner Act might be challenged with a future change in the U.S. Supreme Court. At least that’s the plan of some in the Federalist Society.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    Given the rulings now that we see on appeal, I don’t know l, but I’d think the odds are against, but that is not a call that’s clear.

  15. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    ==The state recognizes AFSCME as the sole, exclusive bargaining representative.==

    Indeed. Part of that faustian bargain is that the union must represent everyone. It must be a good deal for AFSCME, no? Otherwise, why put up with it all these decades?

    Still doesn’t change the fact that new hire is an employee of the state, not the union. Unless AFSCME wants to pay his salary.

  16. - SSL - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    The unions were playing by the rules until Janus won. I don’t see the court doing anything retro active. Doesn’t seem right or possible to execute. A big mess better left alone.

  17. - ajjacksson - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    City Zen, you might be correct in all you say. That does not diminish the fact that this is a clear attack on unions by the wealthy. The ultimate goal is to diminish the wages of working people.

  18. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    “Janus is just the beginning at chipping away at post -1937 precedents”

    You can’t kill ideas and success. It’s very clear, and the IPI admits this, that unions benefit workers. Rauner and Janus are poster children for the benefits of unions—Rauner whose income skyrocketed to hundreds of millions of dollars while he was trying to slash state workers and bust unions, and Janus, who joined the IPI right after winning his case for a job he supposedly loved.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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