The Buckeye Institute and National Right to Work File Suit Demanding Union Return Wages Taken from Workers

Dec 08, 2022

Columbus, OH – On Thursday, The Buckeye Institute, in partnership with National Right to Work Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of Penny Wilson, Theresa Fannin, and Kozait Elkhatib, who have had money illegally taken out of their paychecks and given to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Ohio (AFSCME) Council 8.

“After learning of their First Amendment and Janus rights, Mses. Wilson, Fannin, and Elkhatib all notified their employer and the union in writing that they resigned from the union and requested that membership dues deductions stop,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute. “But as unions have done in so many other cases, AFSCME Council 8 refused to stop membership dues deductions and relied on the dues checkoff authorization card that unions have employed to disregard workers’ clear wishes. It is time for unions to start respecting workers’ wishes, and for public employers to start informing employees of their constitutional rights and stop acting as the unions’ bagman.”

Mses. Wilson, Fannin, and Elkhatib all work for the Lucas County Department of Job and Family Services. They are asking the court to order the department and AFSCME Council 8 to stop the unauthorized deduction of dues from their paychecks and to return any wages taken after they quit the union. 

“AFSCME union officials decided to keep lining their pockets with money from Ms. Wilson, Ms. Fannin, and Ms. Elkhatib, instead of respecting each woman’s clear exercise of her First Amendment Janus right to stop supporting unwanted union activities,” commented National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix. “America’s public workers should not have to file federal lawsuits to defend their Janus rights, which union officials should inform them about in the first place before taking dues.”

The Buckeye Institute is local counsel in Wilson v. Lucas County Department of Job and Family Services and AFSCME Council 8.

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