For decades, Pennsylvania required state employees who were not union members to pay hundreds of dollars a year in “agency fees” to government unions. However, in 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME ended the practice of requiring government employees to fund government unions as a condition of working in public service.
On August 7, 2019, a new class action lawsuit, Wenzig v. SEIU Local 668, was filed against Pennsylvania union SEIU Local 668 demanding illegal non-member union fees be refunded to social services employees for the Commonwealth. If successful, approximately 2,000 employees could recoup as much as $1 million in illegal union fees they paid between 2017 and 2018.
The lead plaintiff in this case is Janine Wenzig, who has worked in the Department of Human Services, Office of Longterm Living since 2008. During her time working for the state, she paid $440 per year in agency fees to SEIU Local 668, despite never being a member of the union.
Wenzig and co-plaintiff Catherine Kioussis are seeking a refund of union fees she and other Pennsylvania employees paid from August 7, 2017, through June 27, 2018 – the time period permitted under the Pennsylvania statute of limitations. If they are successful, all Pennsylvania social services workers who were not union members but paid fees to SEIU Local 668 during that time period could receive refunds. While the employees could be entitled to about one year of union fees, most employees paid much more in illegal union fees over the course of their public service careers.