Victory in this case could open the door to hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds for other government employees
Washington, DC (March 9, 2020) – Today, attorneys representing Mark Janus are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the continuation of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Council 31. Janus is asking the Court to require AFSCME to repay the thousands of dollars in fees the union took from his paycheck in violation of his First Amendment rights.
Mark Janus is a former child support specialist for Illinois state government who brought the original Janus v. AFSCME lawsuit with representation from Liberty Justice Center and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that it is illegal to force public employees to subsidize a union. The Court recognized that compelling public workers to pay fees to a union violates their First Amendment rights.
As a result of Janus, more than five million public sector employees across the country are no longer required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. However, Janus’ case continues as he seeks the return of the fees that AFSCME seized from his paycheck without his permission from March 23, 2013 to June 27, 2018, representing the two-year statute of limitations from the date his case started in March 2015 through the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in his favor.
“The Supreme Court agreed that the union taking money from nonmembers was wrong but the union still has the money it illegally garnished from my paycheck,” said Mark Janus, plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME. “It’s time for AFSCME to give me back the money they wrongfully took.”
Another favorable ruling in the case could have a massive impact, setting a federal precedent that would be controlling in dozens of other cases seeking refunds of dues taken unlawfully by public sector union bosses.
“Mark Janus is just one of many public employees whose money was illegally taken by government unions,” said Patrick Hughes, president and co-founder of the Liberty Justice Center. “Workers across the country are rightfully asking for their money back. It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue and finally hold unions accountable for their years of unconstitutional behavior.”
Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Foundation are currently litigating more than 30 Janus-related cases, including seven jointly, that collectively seek over $120 million in refunds for government workers.
Janus’ current petition comes after a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled in 2019 that AFSCME officials could keep the union fees seized from his paycheck.
“The Supreme Court has already sided with Mark Janus and ruled that forcing public employees to fund union activities violates the First Amendment, but almost two years later, he and countless public servants across the country are still awaiting the return of their hard-earned dollars that were taken from them in violation of their rights,” said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “The Supreme Court should follow its clear logic from the original Janus decision and take this case again to ensure that public sector union bosses are not permitted to profit from their widespread violation of workers’ 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 around 250 cases nationwide per year.