Skip to comments.Supreme Court Petitioned to Decide if Forced Union Dues Must Be Refunded Following Landmark 2018 Janus Decision
Posted on 07/15/2020 8:44:40 AM PDT by george76
A Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) worker is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the union dues he was forced to pay must be returned, thanks to the 2018 Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME) decision.
Benito Casanova was forced to pay dues to the local chapter of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) that represents CTA workers. He is represented by attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Foundation (NRTWLF).
The Court held in Janus that public sector employees who do not wish to join a union cannot be forced to pay dues to a labor organization representing a workforce in a validly negotiated agreement with government authorities. Such forced dues payments violate the individual employees First Amendment rights, the Court said.
Public sector unions like AFSCME stopped assessing membership dues of individuals who declined to join after the Janus decision was announced, but the Court did not decide if past dues must be reimbursed. Hundreds of millions of dollars in past dues could potentially be at stake.
In his Writ of Certiorari, Casanova argued that, In Janus, this Court recognized that unions have been on notice for years regarding this Courts misgiving about Abood, and that, since at least 2012, any public-sector union seeking an agency-fee provision in a collective-bargaining agreement must have understood that the constitutionality of such a provision was uncertain.
Abood v Detroit Board of Education is the 1977 Supreme Court decision upholding the right of public sector unions to charge dues to individuals who declined to join. The Janus decision overthrew Abood.
Casanova further noted that, The Court also lamented the considerable windfall that unions wrongfully received from employees during prior decades: it is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment.
Shortly after Janus was decided, Casanova filed suit and sought damages from IAM for agency fees it unconstitutionally seized from him and a class of similarly situated employees.
Casanova did so under Section 1983, which provides that [e]very person who, under color of any statute deprives citizens of their constitutional rights shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
If the Court accepts Casanovas petition, it will have to decide if there is a good faith defense to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that shields a defendant from damages-liability for depriving citizens of their constitutional rights if the defendant acted under color of a law before it was held unconstitutional, according to Casanovas petition.
Since the Janus decision, unions have argued that they are not required to reimburse past union dues because they assessed those fees on the good faith belief that doing so was legal under the Abood decision.
An IAM spokesman was asked by The Epoch Times for comment on Casanovas petition, but no response was received from the union.
National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens told The Epoch Times July 10 that, For decades, union officials violated public employees rights by forcing them to pay union fees just to keep their jobs. In the 2018 Janus decision the Supreme Court finally recognized that this was a First Amendment violation and observed that it was hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the Constitution.
Mr. Casanovas case is one of many at the High Court or making their way to the High Court seeking that, within the statute of limitations, illegally-seized forced dues be returned to the victims whose rights were violated. It is critical that the Supreme Court take up this issue, either in this case or the already fully-briefed Janus v. AFSCME cert petition.
Former Illinois state government worker Mark Janus has also filed a petition with the High Court on the same issue. Jacob Comiello, a spokesman for the NRTWLF, told The Epoch Times Tuesday that Janus is seeking about $3,000 that was extracted unconstitutionally from his paycheck since March 2013, as permitted by the statute of limitations.
Casanova is a class-action case, so we wont actually know until class discovery how many people would be eligible for refunds or how much money the union would be on the hook for, though for him personally the refund could be up to thousands of dollars.
Roberts will declare it a tax.
Cut off the unions. Right to Work rules.
Can’t pass Ex Post-Facto laws. Probably won’t get past summary arguments.
Nice family you got there. Be a shame if anyhing happened to it
I disagree that is is an Ex Post Facto law.
The Supremes did not make law -- they told petitioners, and the country, what the law really was. The law against involuntary union dues presumably existed all along, but other courts had misinterpreted it.
Such a shame that the Marxists have clearly gotten something on Roberts and that they’re using it to influence him.
Got to wonder if he knew Jeffery Epstein.
The Supreme Court does not pass laws.
No offense intended, but you’re due for a refresher read of the Constitution.
The IAM? Hummm...
I paid those jokers union dues for 18+ years and got squat for representation. I wants me $$$ back.
This isn’t about passing an ex post facto law. It is about invalidating an existing law as unconstitutional.
The issue here is whether or not there is a good faith defense that shields a defendant from damages liability for depriving citizens of their constitutional rights if the defendant acted under color of a law before it was held unconstitutional.
The Supreme court will likely not accept this case, and it is entirely reasonable that they don’t.
Didn’t the Janus only confirm and strengthen an earlier decision from the early 90s that the union could not take dues from non-members?
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