- High court forbid mandatory fees in 2018
- Unions have thus far won in fee refund cases
A former Illinois government worker asked the U.S. Supreme Court to force a union to refund the money he paid in mandatory fees prior to the high court’s landmark case, saying such fees are unconstitutional.
Mark Janus is challenging a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees relied on existing law in good faith when it required Janus and other nonmembers to pay fees to cover nonpolitical expenses.
“The Supreme Court agreed that the union taking money from nonmembers was wrong but the union still has the money it illegally garnished from my paycheck,” Janus said in a statement. “It’s time for AFSCME to give me back the money they wrongfully took.”
Janus’s petition for a second round at the Supreme Court will test the justices’ appetite to consider unions’ good faith defense to the retroactive application of its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME . A decision forcing public sector unions to refund nonmember fees collected before Janus has the potential to deliver a financial blow dwarfing the impact of the ban on requiring such fees.
There isn’t a circuit split on the issue yet, meaning there’s no conflict in the law that only the Supreme Court can resolve. The Sixth and Ninth circuits have joined the Seventh Circuit in rejecting fee refund cases.
“Federal courts across the country continue to reject these attempts by corporate interests to manipulate the judiciary against working people and trample on their rights and freedom to join together in a union,” AFSCME General Counsel Judith Rivlin said in an emailed statement.
The case is Janus v. AFSCME , U.S., Cert petition 3/9/20 .
Read the article on Bloomberg Law.