At the tail end of June, the Supreme Court dealt a stunning blow to organized labor, ruling that government workers will no longer be required to pay fees to unions. Now, some of those workers say they want that money paid back to them – and are willing to go to court to get it.
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Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who won the original case, says that he deserves the money unions collected since 2015, the year he filed the case. Thousands of non-members across the country have joined him in the fight, he said.
The June case, known as Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, stipulates that it is unconstitutional to require government workers to pay a “fair share” fee to unions for the protection offered to them under collective bargaining if they choose not to be members.
“How far it will go, that’s up to the unions and how much money they want to spend to fight it,” Janus said during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Thursday.
In California, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is representing a class-action lawsuit of more than 30,000 workers who are suing the Service Employees International Union and seeking reimbursement. The vice president of that organization, Patrick Semmens, told The Washington Times it could ultimately cost unions $100 million in refunds.
Janus estimates that he’s owed about $2,000 in fees. But that could end up costing unions billions if hundreds of thousands of government workers successfully prove they’re entitled to collect on old payments.
“It was a coerced fee that we had to pay,” he said. “And when I asked for the ruling, it was because I didn’t want to pay these mandatory fees and these mandatory dues, but I had no choice in the case, which is why we went to the Supreme Court.”