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January 14, 2019 4:55

A Michigan-based group sues a machinist and an aerospace union on behalf of employees who say they should not have to pay dues to a union they do not want to join . The case was filed in a federal court in New Jersey.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case of right to work, Janus V. AFSCME, that the practice of forcing public sector employees to pay union dues was unconstitutional, in violation of the protection Freedom of Association of the First Amendment. . Although the Janus decision did not affect private sector unions, the Mackinac Public Policy Center says that because of Michigan's presence in the airline industry, its employees deserve the same protections.

"The Supreme Court has stated that the question of whether the creation and implementation of the Labor Act in the railways was sufficient to trigger constitutional protections such as the First Amendment," said Patrick Wright, Director from the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation in Watchdog. .org.

If the lawsuit was successful, Wright stated that the rights of first-amendment aviation workers would be protected and that they could not be fired from a job if they chose not to financially support a union.

"In the Janus case, the Supreme Court made it clear that state and local governments could not infringe on the right to freedom of expression," Wright said in a press release. "This lawsuit is to make sure the federal government can not do it either."

The Mackinac Center will represent three plaintiffs against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The complainants, Lin Rizzo-Rupon, Noemieo Oliveira and Susan Marshall, work for United Airlines as customer service representatives and are required to pay dues to the union. Federal law allows the union to force workers to support it financially even though some workers, including the three complainants, have chosen not to join.

The question to be answered by the judge is whether the Congress adopting a provision expressly authorizing "private parties to conclude trade union agreements was sufficient to establish governmental action", thus justifying constitutional protections.

"It's my money, I do not think I should be forced to pay someone to protect my work," Rizzo-Rupon said. "We now have laws to take care of our health and safety in the workplace – I do not think I should pay taxes to the government that protects me, but also pay those mandatory fees to a union for those same reasons. protection. "

Neither the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, nor United Airlines, responded to a request for comment.