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

Halloran v. AFSCME Council 5 seeks to end coerced union membership and uphold government employees ability to exercise their “Janus rights.”

This article originally appeared in the Star Tribune on September 17, 2019.

The lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 was filed in federal court this week by attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center, the nonprofit behind the last year’s major Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court ruling, in which a divided court found public sector employees have a First Amendment right not to join unions or pay union dues.

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 lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME) 5 was filed in federal court this week by attorneys from the Upper Midwest Law Center and the Liberty Justice Center, the nonprofit behind the last year’s major Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court ruling, in which a divided court found public-sector employees have a First Amendment right not to join unions or pay union dues. The Minnesota suit invokes the Janus ruling in arguing that the local union violated the First Amendment rights of Susan Halloran, an account clerk at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights.

Halloran says that earlier this year a union representative pulled her out of a workplace training session and pressured her into signing a dues-authorization form without telling her how much membership would cost or informing her of her right not to join.

“The pressure and misinformation Ms. Halloran faced during work hours from a political organization, AFSCME, is unconstitutional and contrary to the rules set by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Daniel Suhr, a Liberty Justice Center lawyer, said in a statement.

The local AFSCME chapter declined to comment Tuesday, citing the pending litigation.

Read the full article on the Star Tribune.