Labor unions are collecting dues from public employees without their “affirmative consent” in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling that state laws requiring nonunion government workers to make such payments are unconstitutional, a new lawsuit alleges.
The Freedom Foundation, a free market think tank based in Washington state, joined with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to sue on behalf of 10 government employees in Oregon who argue that union dues or fees should not be deducted from their paychecks after they officially resigned from their union.
“This is one of the biggest scandals I’ve ever witnessed from the unions and the government,” Aaron Withe, director of Freedom Foundation’s Oregon chapter, said in a press release. “The union dues they’ve forcibly deducted from people who want out are meant to be designated to the working families of this state, not some special interest group.”
The lawsuit, filed Nov. 20, names as defendants Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union and Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as several government agencies.
In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that “agency shop” laws requiring nonunion government workers to pay union fees violate the First Amendment rights of workers who object to the political agenda of public employee unions.
“Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, author of the court’s opinion.
Alito was joined in the majority by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Anthony Kennedy. Dissenting were Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Supreme Court ruling overturned its 1977 decision that said public-sector employees may be required to pay “fair share” fees, also known as agency fees, if they decline to join a union.
The Janus ruling affects about 5 million government employees in 22 states who no longer are required either to join a union or pay related fees as a condition of employment.
Read the full story from The Daily Signal
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