Last year, the US Supreme Court made waves when it ruled public employees generally cannot be forced to pay union dues. The immediate aftermath of the decision gave rise to a myriad of legal disputes, and those disputes persist.
For example, the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTWF) recently announced that public employees in Michigan filed a class action against a union in that state for potentially unlawful attempts to force or coerce them into paying union dues. According to the press release:
“Even after Michigan enacted its popular Right to Work Law protecting workers from being forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, union officials continued to harass and threaten two public school employees in attempts to illegally extract forced union fees from them. After years of union bosses’ intimidation tactics, [the employees] filed a federal class action lawsuit, with free legal aid from Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, to enforce their First Amendment protections under the Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME decision. Their lawsuit demands that union officials stop the harassment, including the use of debt collectors, and refund dues illegally obtained from potentially thousands of other victims.”
Shortly after launching the lawsuit, it appears the union caved and agreed to cease its potential unlawful actions. It will be interesting to see if unions continue to push the envelope despite clear pronouncements that forced union dues in the public sector generally are no longer permitted. Stay tuned.