Madison - St. Clair Record

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State workers challenge constitutionality of compulsory union fees; Suit says AFSCME doesn't appreciate state fiscal crisis

By The Madison County Record | Jun 9, 2015

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CHICAGO – State employees who replaced Gov. Bruce Rauner as plaintiffs in a suit against unions have notified a federal judge that they challenge the constitutionality of compulsory union fees.

Mark Janus, Marie Quigley and Brian Trygg filed the notice on June 1, along with a complaint to replace one that Rauner filed in February.

For Janus and Quigley, the new complaint raises objections to policy positions of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Lawyer Joseph Torres of Chicago wrote that Janus “does not agree with what he views as the union’s one sided politicking for only its point of view.”

“Janus also believes that AFSCME’s behavior in bargaining does not appreciate the current fiscal crisis in Illinois and does not reflect his best interests or the interests of Illinois citizens,” Torres wrote.

He wrote that Quigley “disagrees with AFSCME’s negotiation of contract terms that favor seniority over employee merit for purposes of layoffs and promotions.”

He wrote that Quigley “believes that union representatives are only looking out for themselves at the expense of union members and the people of Illinois.”

For Trygg, Torres objected to positions of Teamsters Local 916.

“Trygg has sincere religious objections to associating with Teamsters Local 916 and its agenda,” he wrote.

He wrote that AFSCME charges compulsory fees at 79 percent of member dues, and Teamsters Local 916 charges 98 percent.

He wrote that the state currently deducts $60.86 from Trygg’s pay twice a month, $23.48 from Janus, and $19.75 from Quigley.

Rauner signed an executive order prohibiting compulsory fees in February, and he sought a federal court order approving his action.

Janus, Quigley and Trygg moved to intervene and then moved to join as plaintiffs.

In May, District Judge Robert Gettleman ruled that Rauner lacked standing to assert constitutional rights of employees.

He granted leave for Janus, Quigley and Trygg to file their own complaint.

After they filed it, he set a July 2 deadline for motions to dismiss it.

Torres practices at Winston Strawn in Chicago, where colleagues Dan Webb, Lawrence Desideri, and Brook Long also work on the case.

William Messenger and Aaron Solem, of National Right to Work Legal Defense in Springfield, Va., also represent Janus, Quigley and Trygg.

So do Jacob Huebert and Jeffrey Schwab, of Liberty Justice Center in Chicago.

A suit that unions filed in St. Clair County court against Rauner and his executive order remains pending before Associate Judge Christopher Kolker.

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