The former state of Illinois employee who successfully challenged the payment of forced union dues by public workers was back in federal court Friday to ask a judge to require his former union to return about $3,000 in dues he paid while working for the state in a case that could have wider implications for public workers nationwide.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring state employees to pay union dues was a violation of Mark Janus’ First Amendment rights.
The former state child support specialist was in federal court Friday in Chicago seeking reimbursement for some of the union dues he previously paid.
“it’s just a simple matter of, they took the money and I want it back. That’s all there is to it.” Janus said in comments outside of a federal courtroom in Chicago.
In court, Janus’ legal team argued that the dues were collected illegally and that he was entitled to receive about $3,000 back from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ Union.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that Janus was not entitled to the dues collected while he was contesting paying them to AFSCME. On appeal, Janus’ lawyer, Bill Messenger, attorney at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, argued that the money was collected illegally.
“The Supreme Court said 'it’s Mr. Janus’ money. AFSCME had no constitutional right to take it," Messenger said. "Today, we’re just asking that the money be returned to its’ rightful owner.”
Janus’ lawyers expect a ruling on the matter within the next few months. Messenger said a judgement in favor of Janus not only means he’ll receive his $3,000 but could have wider implication for similar cases across the country.
Diana Rickert, vice president of the Liberty Justice Center, said a favorable ruling could cost public employee unions about $100 million to $150 million. She said the legal process could take years to play out.