On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the logical next step after the Supreme Court decision that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment.
The article reports:
In 2018, Mark Janus convinced the Supreme Court that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment. Now he wants his money back.
After his triumph at the High Court, Janus asked a federal trial judge to require the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pay out about $3,000 in agency fees the union collected from his paycheck between 2013 and 2018. The judge declined and Janus lost on appeal, prompting a new petition to the Supreme Court.
So-called right-to-work cause lawyers including the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Foundation are litigating some 30 cases that collectively seek $120 million in garnished wages for public sector workers. Public sector unions proved surprisingly resilient after the Janus decision, seeing modest increases in membership and limited losses of revenue. Judgments ordering restitution to aggrieved workers, however, could vindicate doomsayers who predicted the end of agency fees would devastate organized labor. Approximately 5.9 million public employees paid mandatory fees prior to Janus, a massive pool of prospective plaintiffs.
The article concludes:
Trial judges in about two dozen other cases and two appeals courts have reached the same conclusion and rebuffed worker attempts to recoup lost wages. If allowed to stand, those decisions “are likely to doom all such cases,” Janus’s petition to the High Court warns.
“This Court should grant review so the employees in these suits can recover a portion of the ‘windfall’ of compulsory fees unions wrongfully seized from them,” the petition reads.
Other Janus follow-on cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court. One petition asks the Court to declare the so-called integrated bar unlawful under Janus. Integrated bar rules require lawyers to join a state bar association and pay fees as a condition of practicing law. Another petition asks whether employers can designate a union as the sole representative of its workers in collective bargaining.
The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October, if it grants review. AFSCME’s response to Janus’s petition is due on April 9. The case is No. 19-1104 Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.
Open Secrets details some of what the dues paid to AFSCME were used for:
In the 2016 races, almost all of AFSCME’s more than $1.7 million in candidate contributions went to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. The breakdown is similar in the 2018 election cycle — more than 99 percent of its $1.1 million in candidate contributions so far have gone to Democrats.
The AFSCME also contributes millions of dollars to liberal outside spending groups.
The union has given roughly $3.6 million to outside spending groups in the 2018 election cycle alone. More than 70 percent of that spending has gone to a super PAC called For Our Future, which was formed by labor unions to support Democratic candidates. Sky Gallegos, who is listed as For Our Future’s treasurer, is the Democratic National Convention Committee’s deputy CEO for intergovernmental affairs.
The union gave just over $11 million to outside spending groups in 2016, and about half those contributions went to For Our Future.
The AFSCME has lobbied Congress on right-to-work policies, according to lobbying disclosures. The union’s lobbying efforts overall have totaled than $2.3 million annually since 2009, peaking at $2.9 million in spending in 2011.
Union dues account for much of the money in politics. If people who choose not to join the union are not required to pay union dues, this will impact political campaigns in America.