A woman who works in Montgomery County has filed a federal lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) alleging the union is continuing to withhold dues from her even though she left the union in July of 2019.
Elizabeth McKeon is a clerk typist at the Norristown State Hospital and filed the suit against AFSCME Council 13 with the assistance of the Fairness Center, a Pennsylvania nonprofit.
“Union officials ignored her resignation and have continued paycheck deductions of not only union dues payments but also political contributions to AFSCME’s PAC,” the Fairness Center said in a press release. “Because of this, Ms. McKeon has filed a federal lawsuit to protect her constitutional rights against these union officials’ treatment of her.”
The case is part of the fallout from the landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Janus v. AFSCME 31, which ruled that nonunion members cannot be forced to pay dues to public sector unions.
“Ms. McKeon is a dedicated public servant who has had a unique and distinguished career,” her lawyer, Danielle Susanj, told Delaware Valley Journal. “She followed the union’s requirements for how to send her resignation yet was simply ignored. We are honored to help her seek to protect her constitutional rights.”
Representatives of AFSCME declined to comment.
“AFSCME is the largest of the unions representing state government workers, and its contract typically sets the major terms for most of the other collective bargaining units,” a 2019 report from PennLive. com noted. “AFSCME in itself represents 33,500 persons, or more than 40 percent of the state’s current workforce.”
The Fairness Center describes itself as a “public interest law firm that provides free legal services to those hurt by public sector union officials.”
The complaint filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania does not specify how much McKeon has lost since resigning nearly a year ago. But the lawsuit does ask that the court award her those dues and fees plus interest.
How deeply the Janus decision has hurt unions like AFSCME has been a point of debate in the last two years.
A report from the right-of-center Manhattan Institute noted that the ruling would impact revenues overall, but noted that “membership in public unions has not declined dramatically, and some unions have even increased their membership,” since Janus.
AFSCME boasted as much in 2019.
— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 27, 2019
Meanwhile, the namesake of the landmark legal opinion, Mark Janus, is still trying to claw back the dues improperly taken from him beginning in 2013, according to a Fox News report from March.