State employees in New Hampshire say they’ve had required union fees taken out of their paychecks without their consent. Now, they’re asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and get them their money back.
The Washington Examiner reported last week that a pair of public employees in the Granite State are seeking to have three years’ worth of union dues refunded by the State Employees Association of New Hampshire.
The suit, which involves other state employees as part of a class action, was filed with help from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the Examiner reported.
“Violated the rights of workers”
The foundation’s president, Mark Mix, said union leaders violated the workers’ constitutional rights.
“Union bosses violated the rights of workers in New Hampshire and across the country for decades and now they must return a few years of those ill-gotten gains,” he declared, according to the Examiner.
“The Court should grant [Patrick] Doughty and [Randy] Severance’s petition and make it clear that union bosses cannot simply pocket the proceeds of their unconstitutional forced dues scheme,” Mix added.
As evidence, Mix points to a 2018 Illinois case Janus v. American Federal of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council.
In that ruling, the Supreme Court concluded that public sector unions could not compel nonmember employees to pay dues. Prior to its decision, public employees could be forced into “fair share” arrangements in which they paid for costs associated with collective bargaining but not unions’ political activities.
NH considers right to work
The Washington Examiner noted that the New Hampshire state legislature is considering a bill that would give private sector employees the same freedom not to pay for union representation.
The measure is backed by the pro-business group Americans for Prosperity, and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, if passed, the Examiner said.
However, Mix faults the state for not already having a law on the books that explicitly “ensures union membership and financial support are voluntary, not coerced.”
“Had union dues been voluntary during the period covered in the lawsuit, union officials could not have seized forced fees from unwilling workers to begin with,” he complained, according to the Examiner.