Ohio Officeholders Continue to Enforce Illegal Union
Jared Allen, an independent-minded resident of Franklin
County, Ohio, who works for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was
delighted when he learned last year about the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark
decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal
Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.
On June 27, 2018, the High Court decided that government
employers across the country may not deduct union dues or fees from employees’
paychecks unless the employees “clearly and affirmatively consent before any
money is taken from them . . . .”
(The Janus case was argued and won on behalf of
Illinois civil servant Mark Janus by National Right to Work Legal Defense
Foundation attorney William Messenger.)
At the time the Janus ruling came down, Ohio was one
of the 24 states that either statutorily authorized or tolerated the extraction
of forced union dues and fees from employees as a condition of working for the
And Mr. Allen was one of countless thousands of civil
servants who were bankrolling a union against their will because of Ohio’s
coercive labor policies.
Under duress, he had agreed to allow government officials to
deduct dues from his paychecks and funnel them to the coffers of the Ohio Civil
Service Employees Association (OCSEA) union, which is a subsidiary of AFSCME.
‘Immediately Cease Deducting Any and All Union Dues Or
Fees From My Paychecks’
After Janus, Mr. Allen assumed things would be
That’s why he was gravely disappointed when a human
resources official told him, 20 days after the Janus decision
announcement, that he would not be able to cut off his financial support for
the OSCEA for roughly another two-and-a-half years, shortly before the
expiration of the union contract!
Distressed as he was, Mr. Allen was undeterred. After
researching the issue with the Right to Work Foundation’s assistance, he
concluded the state government had no authority, under Janus, to bar him
from exercising his First Amendment right not to subsidize OCSEA bosses and
their speech except between December 30, 2020 and January 29, 2021.
This February 14, Mr. Allen tried to vindicate his Janus
rights again. On that day, he sent, by certified mail, letters to his state
employer and to OCSEA headquarters insisting “you immediately cease deducting
any and all union dues or fees from my paychecks.”
Union Bosses Face Potential Aggregate Loss of Billions
Unfortunately, both the Ohio EPA and the OCSEA union brass
chose to ignore Mr. Allen’s admonition that dues money could not be
constitutionally deducted from his paychecks without his “affirmative consent.”
That left Mr. Allen with no real choice except to go to
On August 27, Foundation attorneys filed a federal class
action lawsuit, challenging the state’s enforcement of illegal restrictions on
union withdrawals on behalf of Mr. Allen and four other Ohio civil servants
whose First Amendment rights have been similarly trampled.
With the enthusiastic help of top bosses of the OCSEA union
(also known as AFSCME Local 11), Big Labor GOP Gov. Mike DeWine and other Ohio
state officials are currently barring tens of thousands of state workers from
exercising their Janus rights at least until the end of 2020.
As a class action, the Allen complaint is designed to
end all such restrictions for all state employees.
“Gov. DeWine and Matthew Damschroder, head of the Department
of Administrative Services, are named as defendants because the state is
seizing dues from workers’ paychecks and enforcing restrictions on
resignations,” explained Mark Mix, president of the Foundation and the National
Right to Work Committee.
“Were it not for compliant politicians like Mr. DeWine and
bureaucrats like Mr. Damschroder, government union bosses who face the
potential loss of billions of dollars in coerced union dues and fees thanks to Janus
would have little ability to stop civil servants from exercising their First
“Ohio is just one of 19 states whose top public officials
were notified by the Foundation last year, soon after Janus was
announced, that they would face litigation if they didn’t cease collecting
union dues from government employees without their consent. Unless they change
course soon, many other state executives could soon face Allen-style