Will refunds bankrupt unions?
Will refunds bankrupt unions?

After the U.S. Supreme Court deemed that it was unconstitutional for public-sector unions to collect agency fees from nonmembers, these non-union members now want to be refunded.

"In its June ruling, the Supreme Court sided with Illinois child-support worker Mark Janus and said requiring public-sector employees to pay agency fees is unconstitutional, because bargaining contracts with state and local governments is inherently political," writes the Wall Street Journal. 

Janus has also demanded repayment from the American Federation of State for the $2,000 in fees he paid. 

This June  Supreme Court ruling was a massive blow to unions and state governments, which will now make millions less a year in fees. 

Pennsylvania collected these fees from 24,000 state workers, which totaled to $6.6 million last year. New York unions are expected to lose $112 million from the 200,000 state and local workers that were forced to pay the agency fees, according to the think tank Empire Center.

For some unions, these agency fees made up 5 percent or more of the revenue. 

But now that non-union members are no longer required to pay these unnecessary fees, some are demanding that they get back what they were forced to pay previously.

Debora Nearman, a systems analyst with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, filed a lawsuit in April in Oregan claiming being forced to pay fees that funded union activities was against her 1st Amendment freedoms. The court ruled in her favor and she will also be the first case where the forced fees will be refunded. The $3,000 she paid over the last two years will be refunded.

There will likely be more nonmembers seeking refunds for their forced fees. 

“It’s quite clear workers can go and get refunds for whatever the statute of limitations is in their state,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Janus's attorney. 

The foundation is also representing a class-action lawsuit with more than 30,000 California employees seeking refunds from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU.)

“We actually estimated for them that the over 30,000 workers could be entitled to over a $100 million in refunds,” said Semmens. 

So far, there are about 20 cases across the country in which individuals are seeking repayment for the force agency fees. 

Author's note: Of course, people want their dues back. They should not have been forced to pay the fees in the first place. 


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