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Janus Decision Opens the Door for Workers to Sue their Union

In Oregon, Courts are hearing cases where local unions are getting sued by their members for collecting dues

Brian Young's picture
Sep 24, 2018

Since the Janus decision, UCOMM Blog has been reporting on a number of ways that conservative, anti-union groups have been trying to destroy unions. Some include knocking on union members doors, while others involve court cases challenging a unions right to exclusively bargain for a workforce. In Oregon, fair share fee payers have begun filing lawsuits, suing to get their fees back.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, 12 public employees in Oregon have brought a class action suit against Oregon AFSCME Council 75, the Service Employees International Union Local 503, and the Oregon Education Association, the three unions that represent state and local employees as well as public school teachers. The 12 are suing to get 6 years of fair share fees back. The lawsuit is being funded by the Freedom Foundation and the National Right to Work Foundation. UCOMM Blog has already exposed the shady tactics that the Freedom Foundation has been using to trick union members into leaving their union. The National Right to Work Foundation was also one of the groups behind the Janus case.

The case in Oregon isn’t the only one. A class action lawsuit was filed just days after the Janus decision in California against the teachers union. SEIU Local 1000 is also facing a lawsuit for fees paid from 2012 until 2018. The employees suing Local 1000 are attempting to collect upwards of $100 Million while the Oregon case could cost the 3 unions upwards of $10 Million.

While it would seem far-fetched that the employees would be able to sue for fees collected while it was legal to collect these mandatory fees, at least one local in Oregon has tried to stop a potential lawsuit. SEIU Local 503 settled in July with an employee from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for 2 years worth of fees, about $3,000.

Even with the lawsuits and union-busting door knockers, public sector unions from around the country have said that the Janus case only made them stronger. Thanks to the hard work in the months preceding the case, most locals have been able to prevent an exodus of members from their ranks. Even with the hard work, it seems like the Right to Work union busters will continue their lawsuits in an attempt to destroy unions.

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