Major relief has finally arrived for a number of Ohio’s public employees, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
On July 14, Ohio public employees won a settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit charging American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 11 and the state of Ohio with enforcing illegal restrictions on their First Amendment right to cut off union dues deductions.
The lawsuit, brought on by four state employees, challenged a union-created “escape window” as being unconstitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. In Janus, the justices affirmed that mandatory union membership and dues in the public sector violated the workers’ First Amendment rights.
The ruling made clear that union members have the right to opt out if they please, but unions were attempting to curtail this right by imposing an arbitrary annual limit to the number days it could be exercised.
Since the settlement, the Freedom Foundation has been flooded with emails and phone calls from government employees expressing their gratitude:
“Thank you and all those at Opt Out Today to help me resign from the union. I am no longer required to pay union dues, and I received a refund of my back dues from February to now. Thank you so very much for all your efforts — I appreciate it. I can use the extra money to pay for other living costs.” – Sarah
“Just last week, I finally received my refunded union dues and a notice of my resignation from union membership. I can also confirm that payroll deductions have stopped for further union dues. Thank you so much for your help with everything!” – Anna
“I finally received my refund check since my request to opt out on 1/7/2020. My new paycheck now reflects $0 OCSEA Union Dues. Yay!” – Teresa
The Freedom Foundation has been working to educate government employees in Ohio and across the country since Janus and, although this settlement brings welcome news and savings for many, there is still a lot of work to do.
Despite numerous settlements practically identical to OCSEA/AFSMCE Local 11’s, the majority of Ohio’s unionized government employees unfortunately remain trapped.
The Freedom Foundation will not let government unions continue their abuse of its own members. We remain committed to serving as the watchdog of public employees through education and outreach and by holding government unions and the state accountable.
Ohioans deserve better than what they’ve been dealt by their unions, and the Freedom Foundation will never stop fighting for their individual liberty and freedom.