Chicago Tribune: State workers ask to be repaid for past “fair share” fees

May 1, 2019 — Continuing a fight against public employee unions initially spearheaded by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, nine state workers who say they have opted out of union membership are asking to be repaid for past “fair share” fees in a proposed class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday argues that more than 2,700 state employees are entitled to money they paid to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 from May 1, 2017 — the furthest back they can demand the money under a state statute of limitations — through June 28, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to make public employees pay union dues. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say they’re seeking close to $2 million from the union.

The lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court decision was championed by Rauner and brought by Mark Janus, a former child support specialist with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services who was represented by the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Those same groups are behind Wednesday’s lawsuit. The plaintiffs worked for a range of departments, including the Illinois State Police and the Department of Children and Family Services, and say they were wrongfully forced to give money to the union.

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