New ‘fair-share’ lawsuit part of coordinated national attack on unions

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ST. PAUL, Minn. June 20, 2018 – A law firm in Texas has apparently coordinated the recent filing of federal class action lawsuits against Education Minnesota and unions of educators in at least five other states over the collection of fair-share fees, which non-members pay to defray the union’s expenses related to bargaining and administrating their contracts.

Federal court records indicate Jonathan Mitchell of the Mitchell Law firm of Austin, Texas, has filed similar lawsuits in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. In each lawsuit, the plaintiffs seek refunds of fair-share fees paid in the past. The plaintiffs argue the collection of the fees over the past decades was improper because sections of Minnesota’s labor laws that allowed it are unconstitutional.

“For the past few years, a few immensely wealthy individuals have paid for a national campaign against the rights of working people to organize and work in union. They fund lawsuits, political campaigns and think tanks in every state,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “We strongly suspect this latest wave of litigation is another piece of it.”

“Education Minnesota has not been formally served with this new lawsuit because the attorneys are waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in the Janus case, which involves related constitutional issues,” Specht said. “Education Minnesota always complies with the law, and the collection of fair-share fees has been legal and beneficial for the tens of thousands of educators who worked in better schools, with smaller classes, and for more pay than they would have without their union.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.