Less than two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that public unions can’t force non-union members to pay fees… and already, California teachers are demanding their money back.
Seven California teachers are suing several teachers’ unions, demanding that the union reimburse them for forcing them to make payments that are now considered unconstitutional.
“This lawsuit will enable teachers like me to recover the agency fees that we were wrongly forced to pay against our will,” said Scott Wilford, the plaintiff in the new lawsuit.
Wilford, who filed the lawsuit last Tuesday, is joined by six other teachers.
The suit targets the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federal of Teachers (AFT), and other smaller unions, and seeks “redress for the defendants’ past and ongoing violations of their constitutionally protected rights. The defendants have violated the representative plaintiffs’ constitutional rights by, among other things, forcing them to pay fair share service fees as a condition of their employment.”
Wilford’s suit comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Janus vs. AFSCME decision, which ruled that workers who refused to join a union could not be forced to financially support the union. Previously, the Supreme Court had ruled that unions could force workers to pay mandatory fees to prevent them from becoming “free riders”–workers who benefit from union negotiation, but don’t pay any money towards it.
AFT has hit back on both the Janus decision and Wilford’s lawsuit, with AFT president Randi Weingarten claiming that the lawsuit is basically frivolous.
Weingarten argued that the lawsuit “should be understood for what it is — a bid to ensure workers must fend for themselves and not have the opportunity to live a better life.”
She also added that the Janus decision did not mandate that unions reimburse non-members for fees that, at the time, were legal.