State workers sue to get back ‘fair share’ union fees

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SPRINGFIELD — Nine state employees are suing Illinois to get back the “fair share” fees they paid for getting benefits of union negotiation without being members.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reported the suit was filed as a class action. It was filed Wednesday and argues that more than 2,700 state employees are entitled to money they paid to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 from May 1, 2017 — the furthest back they can demand the money under a state statute of limitations — through June 28, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to make public employees pay union dues. Attorneys say they want about $2 million from the union.

According to the newspaper, Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, had filed a similar suit that was thrown out. The judge had ruled that the union had followed the law and couldn’t have known the fees would become illegal.

“That ruling echoes what more than a dozen other federal and state courts have decided in similar cases,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said in an email to the Journal-Register. “The anti-worker, corporate-funded front groups prolonging this failed litigation want to use the courts to further their political attack on working people and our union. Their repeated lawsuits are nothing but a greedy grab for more.”

Attorneys with the Liberty Justice Center, the group behind both this and the earlier lawsuits, said the suits were similar and would appeal if they lost the class action case.



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