In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is illegal to require public employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment. In September 2019, Maryland state employees forced to pay these fees prior to the Court’s decision filed a lawsuit, Mattos et al., v. AFSCME Council 3, demanding a refund of their union “agency” or “fair share” fees.
The federal class-action lawsuit filed by 19 state employees against AFSCME Council 3 seeks a refund of non-member fees paid to the union between September 4, 2016, and June 27, 2018 – the period of time permitted under the Maryland statute of limitations. It is estimated these workers and nearly 10,000 other state employees had approximately $7 million taken from their paychecks for “agency” fees during those 22 months. However, many state employees have paid much more in illegal union fees over the course of their public service careers.
“I was never a member of AFSCME and I never wanted anything to do with the union, yet I paid the union more than $2,000 since 2011,” said Gary Mattos, a correctional dietary officer with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for 20 years and lead plaintiff of the new case. “Taking money from hardworking people without their permission is wrong and I was relieved that the Supreme Court agrees. I want my money back and so do many other state employees.”