Letter explains states open themselves up to lawsuits if they continue seizing union fees from nonmember public employees
Springfield, VA (July 3, 2018) – In light of the new U.S. Supreme Court Janus ruling that declares compulsory union fees for government employees to be unconstitutional, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who argued and won the case, has sent letters to state comptrollers or other officials responsible for the state payroll in 21 states without Right to Work laws. The letter demands they comply with the new legal protections for workers and immediately cease deductions of union fees from the paychecks of all nonmember state employees.
The Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME, argued by Foundation staff attorney William Messenger, that forcing government employees who are not union members to pay union fees as a condition of employment violates the First Amendment. The Court’s opinion clarified that nonmember employees must “clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them” for payment to a union.
The Foundation’s letter was sent to the appropriate officials in all states that lack an active state Right to Work law, in which before Janus workers could be compelled to pay fees to a union to keep their jobs, even if they were not a union member. However, under the new protections in Janus, union officials can no longer require public-sector employees to pay dues, and payments can no longer be deducted from nonmembers’ paychecks without express consent.
In the letter, the Foundation urges those states to “immediately stop the deduction of union fees from the paychecks of all nonmember state employees,” as one state controller has already announced will be done.
If states do not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the letter explains that “Foundation staff attorneys will bring a civil rights action seeking class-wide injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees for any nonmember state employees who request their assistance.”
“Although the Janus decision is a huge victory for independent-minded government employees across the nation, a long road remains ahead to enforce the new protections of their First Amendment rights,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Union officials just lost their forced-fees privileges to dock the paychecks of five million public-sector workers. The Foundation will continue to give workers a voice by making sure union bosses respect workers’ constitutional rights.”
The Foundation has also established www.MyJanusRights.org to inform government employees of their new rights.
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.