Class-Action Lawsuit Threatens Democratic-Led Unions

A massive class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois on Wednesday could force unions to refund hundreds of millions of dollars in agency fees paid by thousands of workers nationwide prior to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last year in Janus v. AFSCME.

That June 2018 decision barred public-sector unions from requiring nonmembers to pay the fees without obtaining their clear consent. It already has cost unions tens of millions of dollars in dues, experts say, though the ruling hasn’t yet been applied retroactively to provide refunds to workers.

The new Leitch et al., v. AFSCME litigation again unites the nonprofit law firms Liberty Justice Center (LJC) and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which worked together on the Janus case, against AFSCME — the largest public-sector union in the country. The two legal groups are representing nine government worker plaintiffs and a class of more than 2,700 workers in the lawsuit, which aims to set a precedent that could apply to all public-sector unions.

“We’re putting the band back together,” Liberty Justice Center President Patrick Hughes told Fox News. “The argument is once something is deemed to be unconstitutional [in the civil context] — agency fees — then they’re deemed to be retroactively unconstitutional. … We’re taking the position that those fees should be refunded to those nonmembers.”