Filed on behalf of Pennsylvania state employees, the federal class-action lawsuit, Schaszberger v. AFSCME Council 13, demands a refund of the nonmember fees employees. These fees were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME in June 2018.
This article first appeared November 18, 2019 on The Center Square.
Seven current and former Pennsylvania state employees have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to get back dues they claim they were forced to pay to a union that did not represent them.
If they’re successful, approximately 10,000 people could end up getting $3 million back.
The lawsuit was filed this month in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Middle District Court by the Liberty Justice Center, a nonpartisan “litigation center” that seeks to protect the right to work or create a business for anyone, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
One of the plaintiffs in the case is David Schaszberger. He served as a statistical analyst for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for a decade but voluntarily chose not to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13, the local union representing more than 65,000 public-sector workers.
The Liberty Justice Center estimates Schaszberger had to pay the union more than $4,000 in order to hold his job.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, an Illinois case filed by the same groups, that overturned the practice of public-sector unions collecting what they called “fair share” fees from workers who opted not to join. The unions maintained the fees were necessary to cover the costs of negotiating collective bargaining agreements, which covered both union and nonunion employees alike.
“The Supreme Court has already decided with us and with the workers,” said Brian Kelsey, a Liberty Justice Center senior attorney. “Now we’re just asking the courts to make the union pay up for what they took.”