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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Workers Group Asks Supreme Court to Get Their Money Back from Former Unions


A group of public-sector workers asked the Supreme Court to get their money back from former unions, which if successful could help thousands get refunds of their compulsory paycheck deductions.

Two workers from California and two from Oregon, represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Freedom Foundation, asked the Supreme Court to hear their four cases as one class action challenge, Just the News reports. 

William Hough, a worker at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, filed his complaint against the Service Employees International Union, the Attorney General and governor of California in 2018. William Brice is a professor at California State University Dominguez Hills and filed against the California Faculty Association in 2018. 

“For decades, union bosses dipped into the paychecks of many workers who were not union members and used their money to finance activities those workers fiercely opposed,” National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix said. “They continued seizing dues despite workers’ pleas and warning from the Supreme Court that their actions were likely unconstitutional.” 

All four workers allege their unions took dues from workers’ paychecks before a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2018 that ruled union dues as a condition of public-sector employment violated the First Amendment. 

“The Supreme Court did not create a government employee’s First Amendment right not to be forced to fund a union as a condition of employment,” Freedom Foundation Chief Litigation Counsel Eric Stahlfeld said. “Rather, the Court affirmed Janus v. AFSCME what it had been signaling to unions in three previous cases starting with Knox, that the right had always existed and simply needed to be recognized.”

“Because of the statute of limitations, a ruling in these workers’ favor would only force union bosses to return a small portion of the billions of dollars nationwide they unlawfully stole from public employees’ paychecks,” he added.