What is the Janus decision? It was a decision handed down by a federal judge that stated unions could no longer forcibly collect union dues from non members. This caused concern from unions over lost revenue, as membership contracts and their ability to forcibly extract payments from workers evaporate. Which brought up another question – what to do about all of the previous revenue, taken from workers’ paychecks.
Well now, Washington state, has started the ball rolling.
A new lawsuit on behalf of home caregivers who were being charged union fees seeks to have the money previously fleeced from their paychecks returned. An Olympia-based think tank is suing to force Washington state and a union for home-care workers to reimburse those workers for union dues or fees they didn’t want to pay.
Last Tuesday, the Freedom Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in Tacoma, Washington.
The lawsuit is seeking class action status, status on behalf of hundreds or thousands of in-home care providers for elderly or disabled clients covered by Medicaid in the past four years. What many don’t know, is that the state automatically collects 3.2% of the workers’ pay and turns it over to the union, SEIU 775. Although workers can opt out, the state, in many cases, still collected the money.
But there are controversies to the Janus decision. The first is the question of whether or not home health care aides are properly considered “full public employees.” Those homecare workers fall into a gray area, in that regard, but they definitely receive payments funded at least in part (or indirectly) by taxpayer dollars and they’re being “represented” (even if it’s against their will) by the SEIU, which handles public employees.
Yet home health care workers in the Washington case already had the choice to opt out of having the dues withheld, but they needed to fill out forms and specifically ask to have the deductions ended. The Janus though, says that’s not good enough. You see, the unions aren’t supposed to be able to collect the dues unless the worker specifically opts in, giving the union permission to take their money.
And in the cases where the workers wanted to opt out, they should get their money back. Here’s the technicality – if proactive consent wasn’t clarified until the Janus decision, can the workers get the money back from years prior to the ruling? If the lack of a proactive consent requirement is unconstitutional now then it was unconstitutional in the past.
This also brings up an even bigger question. Does this decision now mean, can workers across the country sue to get their money back? If they possible can, the Democrats will surely lose much campaign funds, as unions are pro Democrat.