A free market labor group has filed a class action lawsuit against the largest health care worker union in the U.S. to refund millions in forced dues.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRWLDF) filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in a California district court on behalf of state employee William Hough and potentially 5,000 others, according to the NRWLDF.
“In the Foundation-won Janus decision, the Supreme Court finally upheld public sector workers’ First Amendment right to choose whether or not to support a union without the threat of being fired,” National Right to Work Foundation vice president Patrick Semmens said in a statement. “Further, the high court made it clear that fees cannot be collected without a clear waiver of First Amendment rights.”
Hough has worked for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) since 2005 but did not join the local union, instead opting to pay the union “agency fee” required from nonmembers in the VTA as a condition of employment.
The Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME on June 27 that such “agency fees” in the public sector violated the non-members right to free speech by forcing workers to support unions bargaining with government entities to set the wages, benefits and working conditions of public-sector workers, an inherently political act. (RELATED: The Supreme Court Just Handed Down Its Big Decision On Mandatory Union Dues)
Hough’s lawsuit is not the first legal action taken against unions since the SCOTUS ruling on agency fees. At least eight class action lawsuits have been filed against other unions seeking repayment of all agency fees that workers were forced to pay as a condition of employment. If the suits are successful, unions are facing a potential loss of millions of dollars.
The SEIU did not respond to a request for comment.
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