October 22, 2021

Volume XI, Number 295

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Operating Engineers Union Sues Over Duty to Represent Non-Dues-Paying Employees

In Janus, the Supreme Court will decide whether to overturn the fair share or agency fee requirements that exist in public sector unions.  Under those arrangements, employees are required to pay dues equivalent to their “fair share” of the union’s cost of representation.  Labor unions active in the public sector are already scrambling to deal with the expected result of the case.

But Local 150 is the first to file suit.  The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment striking down portions of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act that require unions to provide services to nonmembers.  The suit which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois contends the First Amendment permits unions to waive advocacy for workers refusing to contribute fair share fees.

Local 150 President James M. Sweeney said it is “absurd” for state law to compel unions to provide representation to “free riders.”  According to Sweeney, “the free speech rights being invoked by the union-busters behind Janus work both ways, however, and will relieve us of any obligation to represent workers who refuse to pay for representation.”

Read additional news coverage on the new litigation here.

© 2021 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 57
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About this Author

Gerald Lutkus, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, South Bend, Labor and Employment Attorney,
Partner

Gerald F. (Jerry) Lutkus is a partner in the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where he is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Departments. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law counseling and litigation, arbitration, collective bargaining, and media law. Mr. Lutkus has been recognized on the Indiana Super Lawyers list for his work in labor and employment Law. The Best Lawyers in America has recognized Mr. Lutkus for over 10 years for his work in commercial litigation, employment law - management...

574-237-1118
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