Worker’s motion: Illinois AG Madigan fails to present adequate legal arguments against union lawsuit challenging state bargaining law
Chicago, IL (September 14, 2018) – An Illinois state employee has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by an International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) local that seeks to expand union officials’ ability to use their government-granted monopoly bargaining powers to discriminate against workers who exercise their constitutional right to refrain from union membership and not pay union dues. Accompanying the motion to intervene is a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to dismiss the IUOE lawsuit.
Brian Trygg, an engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation and one of the original plaintiffs in Janus v. AFSCME, filed the motion to intervene in the lawsuit with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. Trygg was a plaintiff with Mark Janus in the Janus case, until being removed from the lawsuit on a technicality because he had previously sought relief from union fees on different grounds.
n a memorandum accompanying Trygg’s motions, his Foundation staff attorneys argue that IUOE officials “seek to ‘have their cake and eat it, too’” by taking advantage of their choice to represent all employees, even union nonmembers, in their bargaining unit while claiming they should also be free of longstanding legal doctrine prohibiting them from using their monopoly representation to discriminate against nonmembers.
IUOE officials filed the lawsuit in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus case, which was briefed and argued by Foundation staff attorneys and ended in a ruling that compulsory union dues and fees for government employees violate the First Amendment. Trygg seeks to intervene to dismiss the IUOE case, or alternatively, to file an amicus curiae brief to support the state defendants’ motion to dismiss.
His filings cite Trygg’s compelling interest in the case that, if IUOE’s suit is successful, he would be unable to negotiate with his employer by virtue of the union’s monopoly bargaining status while the union would have the power to discriminate against him and ignore the legal doctrine known as the “duty of fair representation.” That duty was created by the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent overt discrimination by union officials against nonmembers and others.
Trygg’s briefs also note that Defendant Attorney General Lisa Madigan has failed to protect his interests, as her legal representation in the case “is inadequate and bordering on malpractice” with incomplete responses to IUOE’s claims and failure to cite binding authority. Trygg argues that Madigan has conflicts of interests through her opposition to and strong criticism of the Janus ruling and her actions to limit its application to Illinois public employees.
The filings also highlight that the union appears to be calling for the overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Steele v. Louisville and Nashville Railway Co. precedent, a 1944 case which challenged union officials’ attempt to use their monopoly bargaining privileges to discriminate against black workers. That decision observed that monopoly bargaining would be unconstitutional absent a legal limitation on union officials using their monopoly bargaining power to discriminate.
Trygg’s filings also argue that the union lawsuit is fundamentally flawed because, even if union claims were valid, the solution would be eliminating union monopoly bargaining powers over nonmembers, not giving union officials wider berth to discriminate against those who exercise their First Amendment rights protected by the Janus decision.
“The root of Big Labor’s coercion has always been its government-granted power to impose its so-called ‘representation’ on workers who don’t want it and never asked for it,’” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This lawsuit demonstrates that, despite Big Labor’s claims, union officials’ ultimate desire is to keep their extraordinary monopoly powers over workers and then to wield them to discriminate against any worker who refuses to toe the union line.”
“Ultimately, if union bosses find their obligation not to discriminate against nonmembers under their ‘representation’ so burdensome, they can simply relinquish their government-granted monopoly bargaining powers over nonmembers like Brian Trygg,” added Mix.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.