Maryland Matters: Aided by Conservative Legal Groups, State Workers Sue to Recoup Union Dues

A group of state government workers on Wednesday sued a public employee union, saying the union improperly collected dues from them even though they never became members.

The federal class-action lawsuit, Mattos v. AFSCME Council 3, seeks to recoup “agency” fees paid by Maryland state employees before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the mandatory fees were unconstitutional.

This article first appeared September 4, 2019 on Maryland Matters.

A group of state government workers on Wednesday sued a public employee union, saying the union improperly collected dues from them even though they never became members.

The class-action suit was filed in federal court in Baltimore against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, the principal union for state employees. In the suit, the 19 state employees are seeking a refund of fees they say they were forced to pay before the Supreme Court ruled last year that public employee unions can no longer automatically collect dues from workers who do not want to become union members.

Two conservative legal groups, the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, handled the legal work for the state workers.

For more than 40 years, public employee unions were allowed to collect dues from government workers even if the workers did not want to join the union. But the precedent was overturned in a 2018 Supreme Court decision, Janus v. AFSCME.

Using the Janus decision as a basis for their lawsuit, the 19 state employees are seeking refunds of fees paid to AFSCME between Sept. 4, 2016, and June 27, 2018, the day of the Supreme Court ruling, because this is the time period covered by the Maryland statute of limitations.

Read the full article on Maryland Matters.