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An Ohio public school employee won a settlement against her former union, securing a refund of dues union bosses seized improperly.
Donna Fizer, a school bus driver, withdrew her membership from the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) in 2018. The union pushed back, arguing that she could not withdraw outside of a 10-day "escape period." OAPSE officials backed down after Fizer challenged the policy in federal court. The union agreed to return all dues taken from Fizer following her withdrawal in a settlement filed Monday.
Settlement - Blow - Labor - Leaders - Counterattack
The settlement comes as a blow to labor leaders' state-level counterattack against the Supreme Court's Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees decision, which declared forced dues schemes for government workers unconstitutional. In an attempt to reduce the outflow of financial supporters following the decision, unions such as the OAPSE imposed "resignation windows" that limit when workers can leave the union—in some cases giving workers only a few days to sever their financial support.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which successfully argued the Janus case, said Fizer's win against one of Ohio's most powerful unions shows that labor groups should think twice before challenging public workers' rights.
Ms - Fizer - Win - Reminder - Sector
"Ms. Fizer's win should serve as another reminder that public sector union bosses cannot legally limit public employees' First Amendment rights through ‘escape periods' and other similar schemes," Mix said in a statement. "The Foundation will continue to offer free legal aid so workers can bring more lawsuits to ensure that public employees' Janus rights are fully enforced."
Fizer's case could deal a blow to union finances, leading more employees to leave the 34,000-member labor group. The union takes 2 percent of members' salaries and collected nearly $15 million in dues and agency fees from September 2017 to August 2018, according to the...
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