Cook County Record: Appeals court to decide if unions should refund illegal fees

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to require non-union state workers in Illinois to pay "fair share" fees to a union, but a Chicago federal appeals panel is considering whether a union must refund millions of dollars in fees already collected.

The Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that mandatory government union fees are illegal. Mark Janus is arguing AFSCME should refund the illegal dues he was forced to pay.

This article first appeared in the Cook County Record on September 23, 2019.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to require non-union state workers in Illinois to pay “fair share” fees to a union, but a Chicago federal appeals panel is considering whether a union must refund millions of dollars in fees already collected.

The appeal was brought by former state employee Mark Janus to force the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to reimburse him for “fair share” fees he had to pay the union as a non-union worker. The fees, which were slightly less than union dues, were allowed by Illinois law to cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining and representation.

Janus brought the case against the fees in 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court finding such fees violate rights to free speech and association. Armed with the high court opinion, Janus returned to district court to make AFSCME reimburse the approximately $3,000 in fees he paid before the Supreme Court made its ruling.

Janus asserted a refund was in order, so he doesn’t end up bearing the cost of AFSCME’s allegedly unconstitutional conduct.

Read the full article on the Cook County Record.