The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision 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.
The excerpt below is from an article by Ruth Ravve that appeared April 6, 2015, on Fox News.
The future of public and private unions in two big labor-friendly states may be at stake as foes mount aggressive legal challenges over the long-controversial practice of mandatory dues.
The court cases in Illinois and California revolve around so-called “fair share” payments, or the dues unions extract from workers whose jobs stand to benefit from collective bargaining — whether or not the workers are technically union members. Unions argue workers should have to pay their “fair share” of the costs of negotiating and administering a union contract, so they’re not getting a free ride from the union’s efforts.
But workers are often surprised to see money taken from their paychecks, without their consent.
“I really found out about it when I got my first paycheck and there was the fair share that was pulled out,” said Mark Janus, who works as a child support specialist with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
The fees taken out of Janus’ check amounted to about $46 a month, every month, for the eight years he’s been on the job. “I figured I’d paid over $4,000 so far,” he said. The money Janus unintentionally paid went to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, also known as AFSCME, which represents employees in his office.
Janus is now one of three plaintiffs who have joined with Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in a lawsuit to overturn the state’s so-called fair share law.
“I don’t feel that the union represents me 100 percent in what I believe and what I like to do,” Janus explained. “And nobody asked me if I wanted to join the union, they just said ‘here’s a job, you’re in the union.'”
The intention of the lawsuit is to get a federal judge in Chicago, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, to declare the fee for non-member dues unconstitutional.
Read the full article on Fox News.