Plaintiff in Landmark Case Leads Push for Unions to Refund Ill-Gotten Dues

‘Union bosses continue to use every trick in the book to keep the funds they seized…’

Supremes Halt Gov't-Backed Public Union Theft of Employee Wages

Mark Janus/IMAGE: YouTube

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Mark Janus was an average Illinois state government worker who last year became the central figure in one of the most significant labor union rulings in U.S. Supreme Court history.

Janus worked as a child-support specialist from 2007 to 2018. He opted out of joining the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is one of the largest public sector unions in the country.

But while he was not a member, he was still charged thousands of dollars in union fees—as a condition of being employed with the union-friendly Illinois state government.

Janus eventually took a stand against AFSCME over its use of non-member union fees to exclusively promote and support left-wing causes and candidates.


In 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a dramatic victory in Janus v. AFSCME, or what has simply become known as the Janus decision.

Now, the famous plaintiff wants his money back.

With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center, Janus is asking a federal appeals court to order a refund of the union fees he was forced to pay while working for the state of Illinois.

If he is successful, many other non-union members who were also forced to pay so-called “agency fees” could receive refunds spanning multiple years—another potential devastating blow to the Democratic Party–labor union alliance.

“The Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to take union fees from public employees without their consent,” said Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney at Liberty Justice Center.

“Mark, and other public employees like him, were harmed when unions unconstitutionally took their money. They are entitled to have that money returned,” said Schwab.

A previous attempt to recoup the fees failed at the federal district court level, and union officials appear to have every intention to fight the appeal.

“As this case shows, even after a clear ruling by the Supreme Court that forced union dues violate the First Amendment, union bosses continue to use every trick in the book to keep the funds they seized in violation of the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.